CORTLAND - Area school officials, teachers and cafeteria and school services supervisors and staff from Trumbull and Ashtabula counties saw first-hand what area farmers do to produce nutritious foods.
The Ohio Farm to School tour, "Connecting Schools to Local Fruit, Produce and Food," was held recently. Educators with the Ohio State Extension Office in Trumbull County gave tours of local farms and businesses.
Marie Economos, an extension educator, said the tours helps people understand where their food comes from and how food choices can affect their health, environment and community. The tour participants were given samples of the locally grown nutritious foods which help support local farmers and communities.
"We were very excited by the variety of people who attended," she said.
The tour of 40 people departed from Trumbull County and included stops at farms in Ashtabula and Geauga counties.
Mel Milliron with Trumbull County Health Department said the tour was made possible by a Creating Healthy Community grant.
David Marrison, an extension educator, said the a goal of the tour was to see how local produce is grown and make the connection with local farms.
"We want them to see there are available products out there with local farmers," Marrison said.
He said this is the third year for the event. Marrison said the first year was a conference only with speakers, the second year had more Trumbull County stops in Geauga and Ashtabula counties.
Milliron said the tour helps to create a connection between schools and farms to get produce.
"They see how they can help each other," Marrison said.
He said there is a farm known for its popcorn which could be provided to children in school as a treat.
"We have popcorn locally, so why buy it somewhere else?" Economos said.
Lou Ann Tyndall, Lordstown school's cafeteria supervisor, said she took part in the tour to see what healthy foods can be offered to students in the schools.
State Rep. John Patterson, 99th District, whose area includes Ashtabula and part of Geauga counties, said he was fascinated by the volume of sales in the markets in Geauga.
Stops on the tour included the Geauga Growers Association produce auction in Middlefield, Covered Bridge Gardens in Jefferson, Field Fresh Farm in Dorset and True Earth Farms in Andover.