* Student, parent, and HSD volunteers picked blueberries in support of a farm-to-school initiative to use more fresh and local food items in its school breakfast and lunch program *
On Monday, August 9th, student, parent, and HSD volunteers gathered at Majestic Farms Blueberries, one of Hockinson's locally-owned blueberry farms. Their mission? To fill their buckets with fresh blueberries as part of a continuing commitment by Hockinson Schools and Chartwells Food Service to not only educate students about healthy foods, but also support local agriculture and increase access to locally-sourced food in schools. The blueberries harvested by the volunteers will be served in school breakfasts and lunches throughout the coming school year.
The day was educational.
Jeff and Kelly Moyes taught students about the life cycle and varieties of blueberries grown at their farm.
Food Directors from Parkrose, Kalama and Ridgefield were on site to provide blueberry-based food samples, including blueberry cheesecake bites, blueberry strudel, and blueberry cookies - all of which complied with school lunch nutrition requirements.
Representatives from Clark County Green Schools were also there to share information about composting and the impact of healthy soil on the growth and development of plants.
Finally, Hossein Akhtarkhavari, Regional Director for Chartwells Food Service, taught students about the benefits of a diet composed of fruits and vegetables on mood and learning.
Lessons from the “Mood Boost” lessons stuck with students. When asked what she learned from the outing, Amelia Hendrickson, an incoming third grader at Hockinson Heights Elementary, responded that “Broccoli makes you calm.” Oliver, her older brother chimed in: “And blueberries make you smart.”
The experience also left an impression on Kelly Moyes. “I loved seeing our community, our kids, and our neighbors here,” said Moyes. “It’s an honor to give back and it is rewarding to connect with our families. Experiences like this make our small community feel even smaller.”
By supporting farm-to-school activities such as this one, Hockinson Schools hopes to increase student access to local healthy foods in school and reinforce healthy lifestyle habits in more children and their families outside of school. The HSD is also interested in highlighting the value of local agriculture. “Our farms have played a big role in our history, they are an important part of our current identity, and they are essential to this farm-to-school initiative," said Steve Marshall, HSD Superintendent. "Two important factors to supporting healthy kids are health education and healthy food options. Today’s activity was a great first step in both of those areas."
Incoming sixth grader Grant Hebert noticed the teamwork involved in the event. “It felt like we were a team with everybody working together to do something positive for schools," said Hebert. "I really think students will like having more fresh food options at lunch." When asked if he had anything else to add, he said: “Well...blueberries are delicious!”