Growing a Healthy Community Conference Focuses on Farm-to-School

Like many other places in America, Appalachia suffers from high rates of obesity. At the same time, school lunch programs are strained by lack of funding and capacity to cook fresh, healthy meals. But when you have local farmers producing fresh fruits and vegetables, a farm-to-school program can be a solution. The Rolling Hills Folk Center in Greenup, KY is teaming up with Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Ashland Community and Technical College, and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky to host the Growing a Healthy Community Conference on July 30.

Farm-to-School programs have been run very successfully in other parts of the country, and are active in several Kentucky counties as well – there are some success stories at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's website. The gist of farm-to-school is straightforward: local farmers work with schools to provide fresh produce for school lunches. However, putting into action involves so much more: food budgets, growing seasons, transportation, meal planning, food storage, kitchen space… not to mention getting kids to eat their vegetables! This conference hopes to start answering some of those questions and figure out how to bring local produce to Appalachian schools.

The conference is free and includes a free, local lunch. Read on to see the schedule and find out how to register.

Growing A Healthy Community

Saturday, July 30th

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Registration starts at 8:30 AM

This year, Rolling Hills Folk Center in collaboration with Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Ashland Community and Technical College, and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky will be hosting a free community event to bring farmers, schools, and community members together. Our focus is on growing a healthy community by creating Farm to School programs in the region and providing an educational resource for sustainably growing and producing your own fresh food.

Tentative Class Schedule:

8:30     Registration

9:00     Opening Words – Tim Mayer – Community Farm Alliance – Frankfort, KY

9:35 – 10:45  Session I
Kentucky Farm to School Program Overview
Tina Garland – Kentucky Department of Agriculture – Farm to School Coordinator – Frankfort, KY

Building Relationships, Eating Local
Farmer John Ruggles – Rolling R Farms – Olive Hill, KY
Chef/Restaurateur – Jason Platt – A La Carte Catering & Restaurant

10:50 – 12:00  Session II
Action for Healthy Kids
John Cain – Co-State Coordinator – Buckhorn, KY
Chris Crum – Local Coordinator/Greenup County Health Dept. Director

Integrating Farm to School into the Curriculum
Angelique Perez – Food Literacy Project – Louisville, KY

12:00 – 1:00
Locavore Lunch provided by A La Carte Catering

1:05 – 2:15  Session III

Movie Screening: Two Angry Moms (2008)

A Holistic Approach to Civic Health – Jennifer Williams – Huntington Community Gardens – Huntington, WV

2:30 – 3:30
Keynote Speaker – The Economics of a Local Food System – Leslie Schaller – Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACENET) – Athens, OH

This is a FREE conference that includes a locavore lunch:

lo·ca·vore \ˈlō-kə-ˌvȯr\ noun.
: one who eats locally grown food whenever possible

To ensure that your meal meets your dietary needs, please register by July 20th.

Click here to register!