Dairy Ambassador Nataila Palladino and New York State Dairy Princess Sarah Rohe of Onondaga Hill with Mott Road students at the first Farm to Kids Club meeting March 6. Photo Courtesy Dan Palladino.
If you want to get people to eat local foods, it's good to start the education process early.
The Onondaga County Farm Bureau has begun a Farm to Kids Club at Mott Road Elementary School in the Fayetteville-Manlius school district.
The club is for students in grades kindergarten through four. The club met for the first time March 6 and will continue March 13, 20 and 27 and April 3 and 10.
Onondaga County Farm Bureau President Dan Palladino said six farms in Onondaga County will get together with the children to teach them about foods that are grown or raised right here in Onondaga County and how eating fresh is best.
The program already has a waiting list of kids wanting to get in.
"We had a great first day," Palladino said. "On the first day of sign-ups 30 kids responded already more than the 25 limit placed on all clubs. The school decided to expand the club to 50 kids and over 60 signed up! We already have more than 10 kids on the waiting list for the fall."
Eagle Hill Elementary teachers have already requested Farm Bureau expand the program there in the fall.
The first club event was hosted by the Onondaga County Dairy Princess team with our new New York state Princess Sarah Rohe, and Onondaga County Alternate Princess Zoie Skinner and Ambassador Nataila Palladino.
Palladino said the girls split the hour into exercise for the kids with refueling with chocolate milk to teach the benefits of daily exercise and the benefits of replenishing essential nutrients with chocolate milk.
The second half of the program was teaching the process "From Cow to You" (covering how the farmers take care of the cows, environmental stewardship the benefits of dairy nutrition and the importance of three dairy servings every day). Samples of chocolate milk and cheese sticks were provided by the Onondaga County Dairy Promotions Committee.
Next week is Maple Week and Dutch Hill Maple from Tully will be teaching about maple production and the differences between Real New York maple syrup and artificial maple syrup. The kids will be able to sample maple candy and will have activities and contests to learn about maple production.
The farms taking part in the program are:
Dutch Valley Maple, Tully, Nate and Christie Williams
Hiwire Honey, LaFayette, Chip Lowe
Clean Slate Farm, Apulia, garlic and fermenting, Dave Lenweaver
2 Kids Goat Farm, Cuyler, cheese making and goat care, Barry Sperat
Piglets and raising pigs, Pompey, Rich Root
Pastureland Dairy (organic dairy tour), Pompey, Pete Mapstone