Students at Indian Valley Elementary School use a bike to grind locally grown corn.  Photo by Kyle Green | The Roanoke Times
Students at Indian Valley Elementary School use a bike to grind locally grown corn. Photo by Kyle Green | The Roanoke Times

SustainFloyd’s various community programs take a lot of work from board members, staffers, volunteers and partners in other organizations. But we’re rewarded with moments now and then where we can see that effort really paying off.

Monday’s Farm to School event at Indian Valley Elementary School was one of those moments.

SustainFloyd Director Mike Burton and Operations Coordinator Mason Adams worked with Katie Van Horn and Kathy Kenley of New River Valley Community Services, Plenty! volunteer Alexis Bressler, and a host of teachers and school administrators to teach 4th and 5th graders about corn.

We ran three stations:

1) Katie and Alexis talked to groups of students about all the food products that you can find corn in (which seems like virtually everything sometimes); how to read ingredient labels; and how whole foods tend to be healthier. Whole apples are healthier than applesauce, which is in turn healthier than candy that may have a picture of apples on the box.

2) Mike ran an old-fashioned corn sheller, as children turned a crank to shell ears of corn grown by Amish farmers in the Walker Mountain area of Giles County. Kathy then helped show the children how to winnow the corn using the passing breeze.

3) The corn kernels then went to Mason’s station, where students used a bicycle-powered grinder (borrowed from the generous Ron McCorkle in Roanoke) to coarsely grind the corn, then a hand-powered grinder for a finer grind.

Cafeteria workers are taking the resulting corn meal to make corn muffins for the students.

The event was covered by the Roanoke Times (with a story that includes a nice photo gallery from Kyle Green), WDBJ Channel 7 and the Floyd Press.