Groton Public Schools receives $100,000 Farm to School grant

New London

GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Fourth graders at Charles Barnum Elementary School are learning a lot about locally grown food.

“We’re writing down each life cycle of all the plants,” said fourth grader Caleb.

An effort recognized nationally.

Groton demonstrated why it really out-competes most of the country,” said Congressman Joe Courtney, (D) Connecticut. “Only seven of these grants at $100,000 were awarded across the entire U.S.”

The Farm to School grant funds full-time program coordinator, Emma Rottier, who is expanding hands on lessons and fresh food choices.

“Having fresh food will give you like a healthy diet,” said Caleb. “You won’t get as sick.”

“You can taste the difference and it also kind of tastes better. I’ll be honest,” said fourth grader Lillian.

“Once they start to eat fresher and better and more healthy, maybe they’ll want to come back,” said farmer Phil Whittle of Mystic.

Whittles Farm started out supplying apples to Groton schools and now it’s grown into much more.

“Being locally sourced I know the farms I know the farmers and it’s the least we can do for our families,” said Groton Public Schools Food Service Director Ernie Koschmieder.

Because of this program they’re able to bring in more locally grown vegetables and they say because of that variety there’s more of a chance the students will find something they like. 

Tuesday the students at Catherine Kolnaski STEAM Magnet School were taste testing corn salad.

“It was really good,” said third grader Axel.

“It was good and I liked the flavor,” said third grader Demsha.

Developing a taste for fresh foods is expected to keep kids healthier and local farms busier.

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