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Farm to School: Students compete, learn firsthand about agriculture

During the 5th annual corn shucking competition the kids and the teachers were pretty excited. (CBS2 Staff Photo)

Hundreds of elementary school students are getting ready for a special lunch this week that they actually helped prepare.

On Wednesday Fruitland Elementary School students took the lesson into their own hands, shucking their own corn and learning about where it came from.

During the 5th annual corn shucking competition the kids and the teachers were pretty excited.

The fastest corn shuckers finished all of their ears in just a minute and 20 seconds. In total 460 ears of corn were shucked by students.

Leah Clark, manager of the Idaho Preferred Program says the fast paced competition gets the kids involved in learning about different food and where it comes from.

"The sooner you start teaching them about food, about farming, about where food comes from, the more information that they have they make better choices when it comes to their food selection," Clark said.

They say school lunches often get a bad rap, that they're frozen or unhealthy. Scherri Farley the Food Service Supervisor at the Fruitland School District, says that's not the case for their schools which take part in the Farm to School program.

"I go to the farmers market every week, pick up as much fresh produce as I can fruits and vegetables and bring it in. We give it to the kids for lunch," Farley said. "It's all local and the kids love it"

Farley says in season about 75% of the ingredients used daily at the schools are local. Out of season she says it's still about 30%.

One of the products on Wednesday's menu was apples from Henggeler Packing Company.

"This is a gala apple right here and it was just picked oh probably about ten days ago. It's very local," Comapny president Kelly Henggeler said. "I think these were from a field about 15 minutes from here"

Farley and the rest of the team in the kitchen also take fresh locally grown tomatoes and turn them into so much more.

"We use them for products or in other products like for our tacos and our spaghetti sauce," Farley said.

The hard work and collaboration with local farmers results in a healthy balanced lunch.

All of the corn the kids shucked today along with locally sourced beef beans and watermelon will be served this Friday at the all Idaho lunch.

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