MIDDLEPORT — Julie Fuerch, Royalton-Hartland Central School District food service manager, is excited about the new breakfast cart she has received thanks to a grant from the Niagara County Cooperative Extension.
“A lot of times you write grants and nothing comes of it," she said. "Getting this grant has been a very big blessing in getting our breakfast counts at the optimum.”
The $3,000 breakfast cart is rolled out every morning at the four corners of the high school and offers students some grab-and-go items to make sure that they are getting breakfast and that locally grown and healthy items are included.
It is all part of the Niagara County Farm to School initiative, which focuses on featuring locally grown, healthy foods in school meals. The idea is to bring farmers and schools together with local distributors to get fresh produce to students in their lunchrooms. The program is seen as strengthening local agriculture, promoting regional food systems awareness and, most importantly for the district, improving students’ health.
Stacey Sue Johnston from Niagara County Cornell Cooperative Extension assisted Fuerch with the grant and getting the equipment. “We are here to help the school districts, so it doesn’t fall all on their shoulders. We hope this will empower students to make informed food choices while helping to strengthen our local economy,” she said.
So far, according to Fuerch, the cart has worked out beautifully. “We are right in the mainstream traffic, right where they come in. We are up close and personal as far as getting them to grab some breakfast," she said. "It is really increasing our numbers and helping us get food to the kids.”
Lisa Bielmeier is the public relations director for Orleans-Niagara BOCES.