Corvallis "Farm to School" Program Wins $1,000 Nutritional Grant Award Two Years in a Row

Tucson, AZ (June 03, 2010) Tucson, AZ - The Consumer Wellness Center is pleased to announce that the Corvallis Environmental Center (CEC) in Corvallis, Oregon, was a recipient of one of this year's $1,000 Nutritional Grant Awards. This is the second year in which CEC has won this award, and we are pleased to be able to support this fine organization in its continued endeavors.

The Consumer Wellness Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting nutritional education. CWC is led by Executive Director Mike Adams, " The Health Ranger", editor of NaturalNews, a position that is entirely unpaid.

Each year, CWC awards individuals or institutions that are employing unique and effective ways to spread nutritional knowledge among children, expectant mothers. Individuals and institutions are awarded based on how they plan to use the award money, how many people will benefit from their program, and how enthusiastic and committed they are to achieving their goals.

CEC Used its 2008 Award to Expand its Farm to School Program

The mission of CEC is to provide sustainability education and information to residents of the Willamette Valley in Northwest Oregon. This includes promoting local fruit and vegetable growers.

The CEC's Farm to School program teaches children about the importance of eating fresh, healthy and locally grown foods, by allowing them to sample different farm-fresh goodies every month, take field trips to local farms, and participate in after-school garden clubs. The program also integrates information about food and nutrition into school science curriculum.

The program first began at one Corvallis school and quickly gained in popularity among students, parents and faculty. The tasting tables in particular were a huge success, as children were having a great time sampling new fruits and vegetables from local farms and learning about their nutritional value.

With the 2008 award, CEC was able to successfully expand from four tasting table events a year to ten, which allowed for one tasting table event to be held every month. CEC also was able to provide information activity packets for teachers to use in the classroom that contained facts about the different foods, including from which local farms they came.

Because of the incredible success of the program so far, CEC is excited to announce that it has expanded the Farm to School program to all eight schools in the Corvallis School District.

The Corvallis School District's Food and Nutrition Services division is also onboard, having volunteered to distribute food samples through its central kitchen, and to prepare the food if needed. Parents and local School Wellness Council volunteers have stepped up to the plate as well to work the additional tasting tables.

The program has also piloted a new concept this year called the "Tasting Table Passport", which allowed children to keep a record of what they've tried by "stamping" it in their passport books. Children received a Local Farm sticker for every month they participated in the program.

And perhaps the neatest addition to the program this year is the "Local Pick of the Month" campaign, in which cafeterias featured a different seasonal, locally picked fruit or vegetable on its lunch menu every month.

Program directors planned to have all 3,000 K-8 students in the Corvallis School District tasting fresh, local grapes, pumpkin, cabbage, potatoes, kale, garlic, broccoli, asparagus, raspberries and other local fare.

How This Year's Award Was Used

CEC used the bulk of its Nutritional Grant Award money to purchase the produce needed to stock all the tasting tables, as well as to purchase additional tasting tables. A portion of the money was used to print additional educational materials and the Tasting Table Passports.

CEC has provided quarterly updates for our readers, which highlighted the progressive success of this year's endeavors.

The incredible success of the CEC's Farm to School program is both impressive and inspiring. Children who before wouldn't touch things like onions or broccoli are now asking their parents to buy them because they tried them at school and liked them.

The Farm to School program is a creative, fun, practical and effective way to teach kids about nutrition and healthy living. We are proud to partner with this organization because its work is helping to change the life-long eating habits of children and adults in its community for the better.

All public elementary school students in Corvallis had an opportunity to taste farm fresh salad greens, cabbage, kale, potatoes, grapes, pumpkin, peas and more this school year as part of the Corvallis Environmental Center’s Farm to School tasting table program.

Each month, a team of parent volunteers prepared and served the Local Pick of the Month from a nearby farm. All of the produce served was grown within 30 miles of the central kitchen at Corvallis High School. Much of it was grown within five miles of town.

Tasting tables are held in school cafeterias and all students—regardless of whether they buy lunch or bring food from home—get a chance to sample the seasonal fruit or vegetable. Some students have Tasting Table Passports – each month they write the name of the farm and what they tasted and get a Local 6 sticker from their teacher.

Drew Mosher from Crooked Furrow Farm in Lewisburg grew the salad greens for the tasting tables and visited Mt. View Elementary in April. Stahlbush Island Farms provided peas for 3,000 tasters in May. Roasted potatoes from Goodfoot Farm in Kings Valley were a reliable kid favorite. But many came back for seconds of the baked kale chips from Cinco Estrellas Farm in Junction City. “They taste like Sun Chips!” a Wilson Elementary student exclaimed.

“The kids have really enjoyed the tasting tables,” said Elise Bradley, 1st grade teacher at Hoover Elementary. “A number of the children haven’t tasted the foods [before], so they are tasting something new. They definitely are learning about what foods are grown in our region.”

The tasting table program is one way the Corvallis school district is building relationships with farmers to increase the amount of local food served in school.

With that, we would like to wish warm and sincere congratulations to the Corvallis Environmental Center's Farm to School Program for winning one of this year's $1,000 Nutritional Grant Awards!

Learn more about the CWC nutrition grant program at: http://www.consumerwellness.org/NutritionalGrantProgram.html

About Consumer Wellness Center
The Consumer Wellness Center (http://www.ConsumerWellness.org) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit focused on educational initiatives that empower consumers with knowledge and wisdom on disease prevention, nutrition, peak mental and physical health and natural health modalities. The center sells no vitamins, supplements, foods or medical products, and earns no commissions from the sale of such products.

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