Hundreds of Bethel students are now being introduced to the district’s own farm within the city.
The Bethel Farm is located on the land between Kalapuya and Prairie Mountain schools.
Complete with rows of crops, a barn with solar panels, a large hoop house, raised planter beds and a food-washing station, the Bethel Farm has been impressing visitors of all ages.
A USDA Farm-to-School grant is bringing Bethel elementary students on field trips to The Farm this fall. More will happen in the spring and again next school year.
Kids help harvest veggies, make their own salsa, get up-close with compost, learn how to plant a garden, and make a bookmark with real flower petals.
A Farm-to-School educator meets with the students in their schools before every field trip, teaching them about where food comes from and why it’s important to eat locally-grown produce.
There are great things happening at The Farm.
All Bethel school lunches today were made with products produced in Oregon, most from our area, and some from our own Bethel Farm.
Bethel’s school lunches feature locally grown, fresh and tasty foods every day, but Oregon Harvest Day makes sure that all the products are from Oregon.
Students at Clear Lake Elementary were served by growers, farmers and bakers, including representatives from Franz Bakery, Emerald Fruit and Produce, Childers Meat, Camas Country Mill, and Lochmead Dairy.
The district’s Bethel Farm provided fresh squash, tomatoes, peppers, kale, and garlic.
Bethel already has a reputation as one of the state’s leaders in serving fresh, locally grown food in its school meals, and will present its secrets to success to districts from around the state next month at the Oregon School Boards Association conference.
All Bethel students will be served fresh and tasty produce during the first week of school, and it’s straight from the Bethel Farm.
Harvesting at the Bethel Farm (located between Prairie Mountain and Kalapuya schools) has collected more than 100 pounds of red and green peppers, 240 cucumbers, 175 slicer tomatoes and 168 pints of cherry tomatoes.
It will all go straight to the salad bars at every Bethel school.
This continues the district’s tradition of being a clear leader in serving locally grown, fresh, and healthy foods in school meals.
Bethel’s current Farm to School program will be expanded thanks to a $100,000 grant from the USDA.
As the only grant recipient in Oregon, Bethel will be able to bring science-based school garden education and nutrition education to each of its elementary schools.
The grant will also fund student field trips to the Bethel Farm and cooking classes for Kalapuya High School students.
Willamette’s Graphic Arts students will design and develop signage for cafeterias and school menus, and create promotional materials for the Farm to School program and the district’s Try It Thursday program.
Bethel’s Nutrition Services Department also recently received a $5,000 award for its use and promotion of mushrooms in school meals.