Caro­line FFA raises meat for Farm to School meal

Times-Record - - Front Page - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­

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.

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