Coleman Elementary School’s school nutrition staff went whole hog in promoting Farm to School Week Nov. 8-12. Cafeteria Manager Sandy Owens spearheaded the celebration, working with Leanne DuBois with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services who serves as the coordinator of the Virginia Farm to School program.
The Virginia Farm to School program is an effort to increase the amount of fresh and nutritious Virginia-grown products offered in schools and to promote opportunities for schools and local farmers to work together. During this second annual Virginia Farm to School Week, schools in the Commonwealth were encouraged to purchase, serve, and promote locally grown foods in their cafeterias.
Ms. Owens and her staff promoted the program by decorating the cafeteria with “Virginia Grown” and “Fresh from the Farm – Fresh to You” posters. They decorated the cafeteria walls with large, brightly colored, handmade depictions of a barn, a tractor and a vegetable-laden wagon. During the week students received promotional items from the Virginia Department of Agriculture including stickers and “Pick the Good Stuff – Pick Virginia Grown” coloring books.
On Friday, Nov. 12, as a culminating activity, the school’s SCO sponsored “Dress as a Farmer Day,” and as a result, pint-sized farmers were evident throughout the school, especially in kindergarten and first-grade classes, where denim overalls, gingham shirts, boots, handkerchiefs, and John Deere hats were the agrarian haute couture. All of Coleman’s school nutrition staff and many of the school’s teachers and support staff were in costume for the final day of Farm to School Week. On the menu were baked potatoes with all the fixin’s.
Several special guests were on hand for Friday’s celebration – Supervisor Holder Trumbo (Scott District), FCPS Division Superintendent Jonathan Lewis, Assistant Superintendent for Administration Janice Bourne, School Nutrition Director April Plummer, and Ms. DuBois from the Virginia Department of Agriculture. During all of Friday’s lunch periods, Pablo Teodoro walked through the cafeteria with grain for students to touch and bread for students to smell, fresh from Warrenton’s Great Harvest Bread.
The highlight of Friday’s lunchtime celebration, however, seemed to be the appearance of “Pork Chop,” a piglet that Deanna Child of Flatrock Farm carried from table to table for students to pet at the end of their lunch period; very few students passed up the piggly-wiggly opportunity. To the delight of the students, farmer-clad Principal Joy Seward went one step better – planting a kiss on Pork Chop’s head.