Waterville is pleased to announce that through a partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida we will begin the first phase of a Farm to school program during the 2014-2015 school year. The work began over a year ago by a number of individuals striving to bring local foods into the school. Cornell Cooperative Extension has recently received a grant from the Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida County and through relentless efforts of Waterville's board member, Russ Stewart, Waterville has been named the pilot school for this Farm to School grant.
Nationwide this type of program has been very successful. In NYS the USDA Farm to School Census found that New York State has approximately 639 public school districts, 471 of which completed the Census. 283 districts representing approximately 1,453 individual schools with an estimated 856,201 children in attendance are bringing the farm to school. We want to add another 800+ students to that number!
Although this process will not happen overnight we need to start somewhere. With our partnerships we are building across the region and the resources made available to us through this grant we are confident that we can boost student health through increasing access to fresh and nutritious foods and promote regional food systems awareness. We are hopeful that Waterville will have a Farm to School program implemented in the 2016-2017 school year.