Wood County Schools Lead in Farm to School Program

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If you've ever heard of the Farm to School program and want to know how it works, simply visiting the Wood County school district should answer your question. In fact, Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids has already set the bar pretty high.

Joel Kuehnhold is the agricultural education instructor at Lincoln High, and said he's always wanted to get his students out of the classroom and more involved with agriculture, "Health and agriculture really go hand and hand, and so by getting kids out here it was a hands-on experience for them to make their own food."

Eight years ago, Kuehnhold had the brilliant idea to fix up the school's old green house. His goal was to get his students excited about the idea of agriculture, while teaching them the importance of eating healthy and growing their own food.

"I really wanted to empower my students to make wiser food choices," said Kuehnhold, "I think it's really important that kids understand how they can be involved in agriculture, and how they can take charge of the good that they're eating."

Farm to School is a national program geared towards bringing locally grown foods into school cafeterias. So far, Lincoln High School students have grown close to 500lbs of salad greens for their school's lunch.

Eighty percent of Wisconsin schools in the program say they buy local fruits and vegetables for their students on a regular basis. Out of the 315 Wisconsin School Districts that responded to the idea, 59 percent are now involved in Farm to School activities. There are approximately 421 districts in the state.