Caroline FFA raises meat for Farm to School meal
AMERICAN CORNER — Caroline County Public Schools celebrated Maryland Farm to Schools Week in September by showcasing food raised by Caroline FFA students and produced into a meal by Culinary Arts students.
The Caroline FFA students, part of the Caroline Career and Technology Center, recently raised 10 pigs and five lambs. The students sent six pigs and four lambs to market, which produced 1,400 pounds of pork and 200 pounds of lamb. The meat then came back to the school system.
As part of the Farm to School celebration at Colonel Richardson Middle School on Sept. 22, the Caroline Culinary Arts students prepared Italian lamb meatballs with sauce for the students, along with crab soup. The meat used came from the lambs raised by the FFA students.
“For me, this is a dream come true,” said Caroline County FFA Advisor Jodi Callahan. “I always look back at my high school agriculture experience, and we
had had beef cows at school that went to market and we never knew what happened to them.
“Today, our FFA students got a chance to see the result of raising their livestock is a meal for Caroline County students,” she said. “Our end goal is to get big enough at our facility so that we can donate to the local Maryland Food Bank. For now, for it to come back into the school system in a different way and feed our students, it is awesome.”
Callahan said the FFA is working with Amy Cawley at the local Maryland Food Bank on future partnerships. She said he wants to use the program as a recruitment tool.
“For me, I would love to get those kids who are eager about helping out the community, because that is what we do in the agriculture field,” she said. “Our passion as a team in the agriculture department is definitely serving others. The service is very rewarding.”
In April, CCPS opened a new building outfitted with livestock pens to allow students enrolled in the Caroline Career and Technology Center’s animal-focused agriculture education program to get the hands-on experience called for in the curriculum.
“Caroline County Public Schools affirms our support for the agriculture families and surroundings,” said CCPS Superintendent John Ewald. “I think it is a fantastic statement, to not only be able to teach our students culinar y skills, but also take the entire farm to school process to a very real perspective. Students at Caroline County Public Schools in the Culinary Arts Program are able to work with our Caroline Career and Technology students and the Caroline FFA as they raise livestock, and truly take Maryland Farm to School and bring healthy, nutritious food into our school system.
“Overall, it is a wonderful statement about the great work being down in our community with farms and farming families,” he said. “It gives our students, who don’t live on the farm, a chance to completely understand the partnership and continuum of livestock and fresh produce to then get it into our food services program and provide healthy, nutritious lunches for our kids.”
CCPS Supervisor of Food Services Beth Brewster said she is proud of the collaboration between the school system, the culinary arts program and the FFA students.
“The food shows us the connection we all have together,” she said. “The young students eating the Italian meatballs here at Colonel Richardson Middle School have this opportunity because our high school students raised the livestock for this meal. Then our Culinary Arts students took the meat and made it into a meal for them.
“These programs provide practical learning experiences for the students who then can use them as they further their careers,” she said. “It is great to see everything come together in different ways to help our school system and our community.”
Caroline FFA students John Horner, left, Morgan Bartz and Devan Burnside showcase Italian lamb meatballs during the Maryland Farm to School event at Colonel Richardson Middle School on Sept. 22. The FFA students raised the lambs used for the meal.
Caroline County Culinary Arts student Julie Suit prepares crab soup during the Maryland Farm to School event at Colonel Richardson Middle School on Sept. 22.
Caroline County Culinary Arts student Stacey Smith prepares Italian lamb meatballs during the Maryland Farm to School event at Colonel Richardson Middle School on Sept. 22.