Feeding Our Children Locally Grown Foods in Schools

How do you feed half a million mouths each school year with a nutritious, well-balanced diet? What is the best way to procure local foods for children to try and taste? What happens when the schools shut down and there are STILL hungry kids to feed, and how do you get them food to eat? Trista Snider, Weakley County School Nutrition Director, has been tirelessly working to find creative solutions to address these issues. 

“The Weakley County School Nutrition Department is eager to serve your child delicious and nutritious meals,” stated Trista Snider. “One breakfast meal is available to students in grades PK-12 at no cost. Free and Reduced school lunches are also available, [our grab-n-go lunches provide several days worth of meals for children over the summer].” And that’s not all, procuring local foods in schools by promoting “Taste-it-Tuesdays”, the school district has been sourcing their breakfast sausage from the Weakley County Schools Livestock Farm as part of a larger Farm to School project growing county wide.

Learn more about the LFN Farm to School Programs in Northwest Tennessee here: nwtnlfn.org/farm-to-school

The Weakley County School Farm is a key component of the county’s Farm to School vision. Working closely with the Weakley County Schools Livestock Farm Manager at Dresden High School, Keith Kemp and CTE Director, Lindsey Parham, Communications Director, Karen Campbell shared the School Farm’s vision: “Weakley County Schools Livestock Production Farm seeks to be the premiere high school agricultural complex that is both multi-disciplinary and multi-species. We are on a mission to serve the needs of our students seeking relevant careers, industries needing a trained workforce, and the communities in our area by providing products that will feed our school children, families and our economy.” 

Parham explained that the potential growth of the farm has implications beyond students interested in agriculture. “Our vision is to build a harvest facility and store to enhance our students’ experience in real world career skills in the areas of agriculture, business and marketing,” she noted.

Without agriculture, there is no food. Access to food is important in sustaining the future for our children, but most important is being able to feed them on a daily basis. During the COVID-19 Crisis, Snider and her team have prepared meals by a caring cafeteria staff and delivered to vehicles at various sites throughout the county. As one principal put it, “It’s all hands on deck to keep our children fed.” 

~Samantha Goyret
LFN Team Blogger
Published in 2020 Northwest Tennessee Local Food Guide