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Farm to school

EJHS culinary team wins $6K scholarship

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles recently proclaimed October as Farm to School month through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture which also helps fund the annual Farm to School Junior Chef Competition where EJHS recently won third place in the state earning them $6,000 in scholarship money to be used at Sullivan University.

This month, KDA will also help offer a Chef in School program in Jessamine County Schools which will allow Chef Brad Mitchell into five schools during the month of October — West Jessamine High School, Nicholasville Elementary, Rosenwald Elementary, East Jessamine High School and The Providence School in Wilmore.

“Eating healthy local foods helps Kentucky kids do their best,” Quarles said in a prepared statement. “At the same time, when schools buy local, farmers and food businesses increase their sales and that boosts the local economy.

“During Farm to School Month, let’s celebrate our past success and commit to putting more local foods on the plates of Kentucky school children in the future.”

Mitchell is scheduled to be at WJHS Oct. 1 to 5, and Rosenwald Elementary Oct. 15 to 19 for National School Lunch Week.

At Nicholasville Elementary Oct. 8 to 12, Mitchell will prepare meals for anyone 18 and younger at no cost for the week of fall break from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

While at EJHS Oct. 22 to 26, Mitchell will work with the Junior Chef Culinary team that placed at the Kentucky State Fair to serve their award-winning recipe, a hot brown pizza with mixed green salad and herb ranch dipping sauce, for lunch.

Finishing the month Oct. 29 to 31 at the Providence School in Wilmore, Mitchell will work with the school on presentation and incorporating local produce to its menu items.

“I’m really excited about having chef Brad work with the culinary team to prepare their menu to the students at East High and also incorporating local produce into the menus,” Lee Ann Conner, food service director for Jessamine County Schools, said. “The Junior Chef (competition) is exciting as it offers a platform for aspiring culinary students to showcase their skills.”

Conner said federal programs are available to schools for funding, exposure and to increase public awareness.

JCS, she said, is working to incorporate fresh vegetables and foods from places like Marksbury Farms, Overman’s Produce, Reed Vally Orchard and Bluegrass Aquaponics.

“Jessamine County Schools hopes chef Brad will work with our staff to improve knife skills, improve food presentation, increase productivity and to establish more efficient methods for preparing meals,” Conner said. “By having chef Brad work with our staff, I hope to let the staff know they are valued and that they play an important role in each school.

“Food service staff can provide that extra attention some students need to participate in school breakfast and lunch.”

For more information about the Farm to School program, visit kyagr.com or contact Tina Garland at (502) 382-7505 or by email at tina.garland@ky.gov.