Thursday, December 17, 2015

Canton middle school students promote farm-to-school programs

Students from Canton's McKenney Middle School took part in the 2015 North Country Food Day Youth Summit and are working on a project to bring locally grown food into their school cafeteria.  The students took part in a roundtable with Assemblywoman Addie Russell on farm-to-school programs and here is student Noelle Black's statement to the meeting and the Assemblywoman:

I stand before you today advocating for the availability of locally grown food for my school, and schools across St. Lawrence County.  In terms of cost, nutrition and health, it just makes good sense.
First, in terms of savings, it should be less expensive to deliver and access food that is closer.    It doesn’t seem reasonable that it would be cost-effective to have food shipped (usually driven) across several states or even the country. 
Secondly, in terms of health, the facts speak for themselves. The fresher the food, the higher the quality and nutrition.  A University of California study showed that vegetables lose 15 to 55 percent of vitamin C within a week.  Some spinaches can lose 90 percent of vitamin C within the first 24 hours after harvest.  The longer the food stays in transit, the more nutrients we lose.   It is simple math.  Common sense asks “Would you put crude oil in your sports car?”   “Would you feed your thoroughbred race horse candy corn?” Aren’t people even more important? 
If you put good things in, you will have better performance.  Healthy nutrient rich food goes in students, and better Common Core and Regents scores come out. 
Another advantage to “growing local, eating local” is supporting our community.  The North Country is an economically challenged region, with more and more industries and employers moving companies overseas, or closing their doors.  Alcoa is the most recent company that was threatening our already struggling area.  Thankfully, New York government worked together to reverse their decision and save hundreds of jobs.  
Thank YOU. 
Supporting our local farmers helps their families and their farms.  Let’s keep money in the local economy and in the hands of the people who produced the food instead of those that market, label and distribute it.
Thank you for your time.  

Students compare notes and prepare to speak at the roundtable