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Local Foods, Healthy Schools - Farm to School

The Farm to School Program provides the opportunity for school cafeterias to serve more local, farm fresh food to students, offer education in the classroom on where food comes from, and overall strengthens the local community. Currently, five schools are working with the local Farm to School Coordinator on strengthening their program. The five schools include Duanesburg Central School, Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School, Schoharie Central School, Sharon Springs Central School and Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School District. This program is intended to assist all five school districts to achieve the 30% New York State Initiative. Furthermore, it will help schools establish a stronger economic position to maintain or exceed a higher level of NYS farm product procurement through developing a Farm to School infrastructure. Relationships have also been established with Milford Central School and Cherry-Valley Springfield Central School as we have been expanding our program.

An additional feature of this program is Harvest of the Month. School cafeterias highlight a New York State product as part of the meal or in taste tests. At each school, a collaborative team has been put together with the Farm to School coordinator to help further develop their Farm to School program and address any challenges specific to that school.

During the past month several of the schools in the Farm to School Program offered tastings. Tastings are a great way to introduce new food items to students. By participating in tastings schools can collect data from students on what items they like before making a financial decision to offer that item on a regular basis. Some food items that have been featured have created a great dialogue on where food comes from and how food that item is prepared.

School specific tastings:

  • Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District and Schoharie Central School District offered hummus and Issa’s NYS Pita chips. Students were excited to learn that Issa’s pita chips are made in Buffalo, NY. Many of the students didn’t know what hummus was or what it was made from making a great learning opportunity!
  • The middle and high schoolers at Sharon Springs Central School had their taste buds tested during our smoothie tasting. The students had the option to choose to have a strawberry or blueberry smoothie. The students that tried the blueberry smoothie were asked what they tasted, and most students responded saying blueberries. They were amazed when I told them that the smoothie also contained fresh greens. Along with the smoothie tasting the cafeteria offered caprese salads with fresh greens, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and topped with balsamic dressing during lunch. It was delicious!
  • At the end of April, the high school students were very busy at Cobleskill-Richmondville preparing for the Harvest of the Month tasting of Mediterranean pizza samplers. The pizza crust was tortillas made by the food service class. The farm to table class created the sauce for the pizza, a basil pesto made using school grown basil. The students from both classes helped to serve the pizzas to their fellow classmates during the lunch periods. When talking with the students they were very excited to be able to eat something that they helped grow and cook.
  • Milford Central School and Duanesburg Central School District offered fresh smoothies to their students featuring NYS milk and yogurt. The smoothie flavors that were offered include strawberry banana, blueberry, cucumber spinach and watermelon cucumber. In conversations with tasters, they were surprised that the smoothies contained vegetables as well as the fruit. Smoothies are a great way to meet nutritional needs while enjoying a refreshing beverage!

We look forward to working with schools to offer more NYS products and continue to participate in tastings. With the summer months approaching we have begun to make goals with our schools for the end of the year and for next school year. We are currently working on making connections between local producers and our schools. Our goal is to help schools be able to offer more NYS local products for the next school year and continue to grow our program.

Stay tuned for reports on our progress in the program!

To learn more about Farm to School in Schoharie County, contact Shannon Sears at or call (518) 234-4303 x114.

Learn more about National Farm to School


Shannon Sears
Farm to School Coordinator
518-234-4303 x114

Last updated May 18, 2023