The Farm-To-School (F2S) program was created to provide healthy options for students and to achieve that goal by sourcing food locally, and by training school staff to use recipes that include scratch cooking. During a recent training for food service staff, the representative from an organization providing training for scratch meal preparation in institutional foodservice made statements to area media that do not reflect the current policies or intent of Vinton-Shellsburg’s F2S program.
Statements made by the trainer to the media caused many patrons significant confusion and concern, and as a result, school officials met on Monday with representatives of several local commodity groups to provide accurate information about the school’s F2S program.
The school district, along with representatives of the Benton County agricultural community, established shared statements describing goals for the F2S program and the district’s continued participation in locally sourced food. Those statements include:
- We want healthy options for our students within the food service program.
- We want our students to be healthy.
- We endorse quality training for our food service staff to assist them in their jobs.
- We support local producers and want strong partnerships with commodity groups.
- We work to provide accurate information.
According to school superintendent MaryJo Hainstock, the meeting provided the opportunity to keep communication open and to express the district’s commitment to the broader school community. “I appreciated the opportunity to meet with representatives of our area agricultural community and for the opportunity to speak clearly to these issues. Building and maintaining productive relationships with our communities is an important goal embraced by the district’s board of education. I appreciate the willingness of patrons to discuss the media coverage and to arrive at a shared understanding.”