"The students can really taste the difference." Meet Sandy, Founder of Hudson Valley Farm to School
March 10, 2016
This week we're profiling Sandy McKelvey, the founder of Hudson Valley Farm to School. One of Sandy's colleagues reached out, eager to profile Sandy's inspirational work in the Hudson Valley. Check out a snapshot of her latest project, bringing local beef into the Haldane School.
On Wednesday, February 3, the Haldane School in Cold Spring, NY, served organic, grass-fed ground beef from Glynwood Farm in their pasta sauce. Every Wednesday from now until the end of the school year, the pasta sauce will be made with Glynwood’s organic, grass-fed beef. Introducing local beef to the school menu will greatly enhance the Farm to School Initiative that Haldane Central School District has implemented since 2010.
“The students can really taste the difference. Grass-fed, 100% beef with no additives or fillers tastes better," Sandy says. "The parents are thrilled to see local Glynwood beef on the school menu and encourage their kids to buy on the days it is served.”
Sandy says Haldane’s Farm to School Initiative started small in 2010 with a few cooking demos in the elementary classrooms and some special locally sourced vegetable dishes served in the cafeteria.
Today, Haldane boasts an integrated Chef in the Classroom program with hands-on cooking led by graduate chefs from the Culinary Institute of America, a Farmer in the Classroom program teaching kids about sustainable agricultural practices, and a garden education program with authentic learning experiences in the school’s edible garden for all students K-6, all year round. In the cafeteria, Hudson Valley Fresh local milk is served daily to all students. Each month the cafeteria features a different, locally grown vegetable on the menu and parent volunteers host taste tests and survey the students’ response. In fall and spring months, Glynwood donates hundreds of pounds of fresh produce to the Haldane Cafeteria, filling the salad bar and adding to the hot lunch menu selections. Including locally grown, organic, grass-fed beef on the weekly school menu is a sweet addition to a robust, growing initiative.
To kick this most recent project off, last fall the Haldane Wellness Committee organized a Family Pasta Night to fundraise for local beef in the cafeteria and raised over $1,200 dollars. Nancy Norton, who prepared the food for the fundraiser, which also included a homemade organic tomato sauce with local Glynwood tomatoes, says, “We are very fortunate to have this partnership with Glynwood in our community. I’m really excited that we were able to raise enough money to follow through with this initiative adding local beef to the menu. I expect we will have an increase in kids’ participation in the lunch program. I know we always go through a lot more on the salad bar when Glynwood produce is there.”
“I hope other schools in the area will follow Haldane’s example and consider incorporating local beef and other local farm products into their lunch menus,” Sandy says. “All kids should have access to fresh, nutrient-dense local foods and know where their food comes and how their food choices impact their bodies, their environment and their community.”
Thanks for all you do, Sandy! You're an inspiration to us all.
Glynwood, an agricultural nonprofit based in Cold Spring, New York, works toward its mission of ensuring that the Hudson Valley is a region defined by food through core programming that is developed and implemented to further enhance the viability of sustainable farming. Glynwood’s 225-acre farm is a model for regenerative practices and serves as a training ground for vegetable and livestock apprentices who grow fresh, locally produced food for the community. www.glynwood.org
About Hudson Valley Farm to School
Hudson Valley Farm to School get kids excited about fresh vegetables and real food. We offer hands-on cooking lessons taught by professional chefs, visits to Hudson Valley farms, and monthly taste tests of recipes made with locally grown fruits and vegetables in the school cafeteria. We give children the tools to make healthful decisions about what they eat so they can grow up to be healthy, food-literate adults. Please check out our blog at www.hvfs.org to get a glimpse of how we are changing the way kids eat.