Organic produce a hit for students
Students at Terrace Elementary School got a taste of locally grown organic fruits and vegetables at an educational “Farmers Market” held on campus Tuesday, Sept. 10.
Bob Knight, a fourth generation organic farmer on the same piece of land in Redlands, gave several presentations on the different “superpowers” of fresh produce.
To a wide eyed audience of kindergartners, Knight said, “Fruits and vegetables have superpowers. They can make you stronger, faster, healthier, smarter.”
He described the different benefits of produce. He held up a sweet potato and explained that any fruit or vegetable that is red, orange or purple grants better night vision.
After each presentation, the students picked any three fruits or vegetables from the market.
Jordan Lincoln, a 6 year old first grader, said she loves all fruits and vegetables because “I think that they’re sweet, they’re nice, I just love them.”
Of vegetables, she said, “They make me see in the dark really better. I eat carrots, green beans, and fruit.”
The event, hosted by Emily Davor, Terrace Elementary principal, and Pamela Lambert, child nutrition services director for Alvord Unified School District, served to educate students and parents about a recent fruit and vegetable grant awarded to the district by the Department of Agriculture.
The grant allows students to receive a free fru adidas predator it or vegetable snack on Wednesdays and Fridays during their morning recess. Students already get at least one serving of fruits or vegetables for breakfast and lunch.
According to Davor, three quarters of students on campus participate in the new program. “Last week we served 150 bags of grapes.”
Davor said that the grant “takes away one of those excuses that our student is hungry or that they don’t have a snack option. We have a lot of unhealthy snack options that we’ve seen herenow we have students, even who are coming on a nonhealthy fruit day, coming with a healthier fruit option.”
In th adidas predator eir normal lunch program the district only had $1 to make an entire lunch. The grant awarded them $50.38 per student.
Lambert said students will adopt healthy lifestyle habits, which will lead to a higher level of academics.
“If a mind is fed, it is ready to learn. So we’re supporting the whole child,” he said.
She emphasized sourcing food locally and supporting the community.
“We want to source local. So our focus is local, sustainable and preferably organic,” said Lambert.
Knight is part of Old Grove Orange, a collective of 28 local farmers the district is sourcing from. His family has been growing oranges for about 100 years. He explained that the older the tree, the smaller and sweeter the orange becomes. But it is difficult to sell small oranges, he said.
“When you go into the supermark adidas predator et now, you see these oranges that are the size of grapefruits, you don’t see small oranges anymore.”
According to Knight, it’s hard for the original growers in Riverside and Redlands, who started the fresh packed orange business, to sell their oranges because they tend to be of smaller size.
“So we get paid almost nothing for these oranges,” said Knight. “It’s really pretty shocking.”
He said that for these farms to survive and pass on to the next generation, farmers must connect directly to consumers.
“There’s this new kind of revolution going on, and it’s basically driven by school districts and that’s called Farm to School,” Knight said.
Farmers provide school districts with fresh fruits and vegetables.
“This keeps farms sustainable, and kids get fresher, more delicious tasting, certainly healthier, cause there’s no chemicals all over it, fruit,” he said. “It’s a win win situation that helps in every single possible direction. The kids, the farmers, the community.”
The oranges that are too big or small for school districts are donated to the needy. Last year Knight donated 168 tons of oranges in the Inland Empire.
“Living in a quiet area, surrounded by trees, and growing things with your own hands, is like finding treasure. There’s just so much integrity in it. You’re doing something that’s purely constructive, purely positive,” Knight said.
Knight said farming is a very entrepreneurial enterprise to get into.
“We’re not talking about old agriculture or industrial agriculture, we’re talking about these local agricultural solutions, where there’s just so much opportunity for young people to get into farming and doing something very adidas predator cool all on a local basis,” he said.
“With local agriculture you can have a half acre, that you borrow from some neighbor, and you can be growing stuff for your community. It’s very accessible.”