Windsor High School's Farm to School Program is Ready for its Second Year
Excitement is in the air at Windsor high school and not just because it was the first day of classes. They're also celebrating a successful summer at their farm to school program overseen by Jessica Swingele, licensed teaching agriculture teaching assistant and land lab manager.
"It goes onto the farm stand then the community can come down and give their donation or just take it for free. We just wanted to give back as much as we can. So anything we had at the end of the week that wasn’t given we then donated down to Windsor Human Development."
The 12 students grew over 3000 pounds of food with over 500 pounds going to Windsor Human Development which Executive Director Brigette Van Norman says was a major help.
"It’s always a gift to be able to get fruits and vegetables."
Van Norman says the access to fresh fruits and vegetables meant the number clients the food bank saw skyrocketed and their guests were grateful for the food.
"It starts conversations, how to prepare them, recipes and just the opportunity like I said to see."
But it wasn’t an easy growing season. The dry summer we saw impacted farms across the area, including at Windsor.
"As we are also growing as our farm, we’re actually learning. We were trying to figure out how we did it. Water was our biggest battle."
But despite the challenges students like Michaela Thomas, who worked over the summer said it was an exciting experience.
"Meeting people we were working with, I made friends along the way and I really enjoyed that."
As for what’s next, people can expect to see more than fruits and vegetables on the farm.
"We have different farm animals that are in our works right now. So we have the bees over there as well."
Some of the animals on their way include cows. The bees won't be ready until next year, but they won't only be offering honey. Swingele says she wants students to see the commercial side of things as well, so they hope to make other bee products, like lip balm.
Swingele hopes to see more schools adopt a program like this and Van Norman wants to see people learn more about where their food comes from.
You can find the farm stand across the street from the high school as well as online.