(From left) SustainFloyd Director Michael Burton moderates a conversation with New River Valley Community Resources Prevention Specialist Katie Van Horn and Karen Day, co-founder of Plenty!
(From left) SustainFloyd Director Michael Burton moderates a conversation with New River Valley Community Resources Prevention Specialist Katie Van Horn and Karen Day, co-founder of Plenty!

More than 50 people gathered Saturday at the Floyd Country Store to learn and talk about the role of locally sourced food in nutrition and public school cafeterias during a SustainFloyd event.

SustainFloyd partners with a series of other community organizations to carry out programs that promote healthy nutrition, the use of locally grown food in public schools and education about how food gets from farms to the dinner table.

They learned about programs in Floyd County that are happening due to the work of SustainFloyd, Plenty!, the Floyd County Health Community Action Team, the Floyd County Multi-Disciplinary Team, New River Valley Community Services and other partners.

Some recent examples include:

  • Floyd’s Healthy Community Action Team (HCAT) is working with a grant to deliver local produce to Indian Valley Elementary School. Next year the program will expand to include all four elementary schools.
  • A “corn grinding day” at Indian Valley Elementary School where 4th and 5th graders shelled local corn with an old-fashioned machine, winnowed in the wind and then ground it with specially configured hand- and bicycle-powered grinders attached to a bicycle. The school cafeteria will use the resulting cornmeal to make cornbread for the students.
  • SustainFloyd’s annual Potato Project, where elementary school students assist in planting potatoes on a local farm and more return the following fall to harvest.  These potatoes are then served in the cafeterias system-wide.
  • A partnership last fall between Cooperative Extension, Plenty!, Fertile Crescent Farms, and Floyd County High School’s culinary arts class provides five deliveries of fresh local fresh produce to preschool families at Willis Elementary School. The school will continue the program this spring, and it’s expanding to Floyd Elementary School as well.
  • Four county schools have created school gardens.
  •  As part of the event, SustainFloyd honored and paid tribute to staff in Floyd County’s public school cafeterias. They work hard to feed the stomachs of our community’s children so that teachers can feed their minds.

     “We hoped the movie would bring awareness to the importance of our school cafeterias in the health of our children and the challenges faced within our current system,” said Mike Burton, director of SustainFloyd. “Floyd is in many ways ahead of most communities and we wanted to highlight these programs and recognize the hard work of those feeding our children.”

    Find out much more about how SustainFloyd partners with other community organizations to carry out a variety of Childhood and School Food Initiatives on our Farm to School page.