SARANAC LAKE - The newly formed Adirondack Farm to School Initiative announces its inaugural event, a kick-off party to be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at Petrova Elementary School.
The event is open to the public and will feature area farmers, dinner prepared with local ingredients, farm animals, live music from members of Big Slyde, crafts, games, educational booths, and an electronics recycling fundraiser.
The Adirondack Farm to School Initiative plans to work with schools and communities to rebuild a healthy food system in the Adirondacks and create connections between classrooms, cafeterias, communities and local farms. The goal of this initiative is to enrich children's bodies and minds while supporting local economies, bringing local food into school cafeterias and creating hands-on learning activities such as school gardens, farm visits, culinary classes and the integration of food-related education into the regular classroom curriculum.
Organizers believe that through growing, harvesting, and preparing nutritious foods, children gain confidence, develop critical thinking skills, feel a sense of power over their own health, and can impact family purchasing, cooking, and eating patterns.
A cafeteria-style lunch prepared with fresh local food will be available at the kick-off party. Locally sourced food will include a dessert prepared with rhubarb from Pray's Family Farms, sweet Italian sausage from Harmony Hills and Atlas Hoofed It, vegetables from Ken Campbell, Juniper Hill Farm, and Fledging Crow Vegetables, as well as beef from Sky View Springs Farms, and maple syrup donated from Paul Smith's College.
The Adirondack Farm to School Initiative is led by Ruth Pino, who is a registered dietitian, professor at Paul Smith's College, food service director for Saranac Lake Central School District and menu consultant to the Lake Placid Central School District.
Pino has partnered with the North Country Healthy Heart Network, Paul Smith's College, and several eco-clubs and school garden groups to make Farm to School a reality for the Adirondacks. At this time, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Tupper Lake, Keene, Northern Lights and North Country schools have shown interest in becoming part of the initiative.
Community members are encouraged to attend on an empty stomach and to bring lunch money, as well as old computers, monitors, printers, laptops, TVs, stereo equipment, cell phones and more for the electronics recycling fundraiser. Funds raised during the event will benefit the Adirondack Farm to School Initiative.
For more information, contact Brittany Harris at the Saranac Lake-based North Country Healthy Heart Network at 518-897-5981 or visit www.heartnetwork.org.