Area school districts seek partnership for USDA grant

The area school districts of Hampton-Dumont (H-D), CAL, West Fork (WF) and Mason City (MC) are working together to achieve a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant that would setup an interconnected network of courses and infrastructure that would facilitate a “farm-to-school” program that would increase the amount of local foods served in all the schools.

Achieving the grant is a long way away however, according to district superintendents and project coordinator Marie Boyd. The districts are in preliminary planning stages currently, brainstorming what each school district has to offer, and how the strengths of each district could be used.

At a preliminary planning meeting on August 23, Superintendent of H-D Todd Lettow, Superintendent of WF Darrin Strike, Boyd, a community member representing MC schools, WF Agriculture Instructor Kaitlyn Bonzer and WF junior Lauren Trewin discussed the programs that each school district runs, and the facilities that they have to offer to the remaining schools. Katelyn Nicholson, a public health dietician with Cerro Gordo County Public Health also attended the meeting, and provided the attending members with direction on how to go about applying for a USDA grant. The Osage School District (in Mitchell County) was supposed to be involved in the discussions, but has missed several meetings, leaving the remaining districts to continue without Osage’s involvement.

Read the full article in the September 7 edition of the papers.