Staffers learn to cook with squashes as ******a part of the Portland Schools Harvest of the Month program.
Portland (OR) public schools and the Ecotrust nonprofit group are serving unprocessed, seasonal fruits and vegetables grown on local farms in 56 district elementary and middle schools in their Harvest of the Month program. The goals are to get children to appreciate fresh, local produce and to understand the seasonality of agricultural production.
Harvest of the Month seeks to build on the district's Farm to School effort at Abernethy Elementary School, which was launched in 2005 and integrates food education with an outdoor garden and meals prepared with local ingredients. Ecotrust's larger goal is to link farmers with high-volume institutions like schools and hospitals, and Harvest of the Month serves as a test for a potentially expanded initiative.
The modest goal this year is to serve seasonal side dishes once a month, including squash (February), potatoes (March), spinach (April), asparagus (May) and strawberries (June). Potentially, the products could be incorporated into the regular menus down the line, giving local farmers a high-volume local buyer.