Cora Sturgill, Letcher County Schools Food Service Director was busy whipping up strawberry or blueberry smoothies, yogurt and fruit parfaits or brunch burritos at the Letcher County Farmers Market this Saturday. Saturday was opening day for the Letcher County Farmers Market and was our first day to serve as a summer feeding site for the Letcher County Schools Summer Feeding Program. We were only certain on Friday, that all the pieces would come together for this to happen, so we had not advertised, but still had close to twenty children enjoy a healthy brunch at the Farmers Market. The smell of fresh sausage and bacon encouraged many of the adults to also buy a brunch burrito at a very fair price also.
Eliza Jane was the first to enjoy a healthy brunch at the Letcher County Farmers Market for free this past Saturday. She drank all her milk and enjoyed her blueberry and yogurt parfait. Children or their parents were asked to sign the table cloth that we will use through the season as one way to document the children who are eating with us. Eliza and the children who happened into the market this Saturday are perhaps not the target audience for the summer feeding program, and perhaps they are, if the message we want to send is that they live in a community that cares about their health, values their well being and wants to support them in making healthy food choices.
Again, this was very much a collaborative effort and we are very proud to be serving as the Pilot Program for Community Farm Alliance and will be sharing details with others soon. In this post, I wanted to share the good feeling at the local level. This feels like another stepping stone for our community, if we can work together to make this happen, what’s next?
Grow Appalachia and Community Farm Alliance were key players in making this happen and it would not have happened without their help. In fact, we only learned of the possibility of a Farmers Market being a Summer Feeding Site in a East Kentucky Food System Collaborative meeting, sponsored by CFA in May. Martin Richards, CFA and Victoria LeBeaux, University of Kentucky discussed the idea with the group and we wanted to try.
However, it definitely would NOT have happened without the support of the community. The conversation could have ended with Cora Sturgill, Food Service Director had she not been willing to purse the idea, add the extra responsibilities, and collaborate with the Department of Education to make Letcher County Farmers Market a Summer Site. She not only navigated through the paper work issues, but shopped and served to be certain it happened. Cathy Gallagher, Child Nutrition Program Consultant with the Summer Feeding Program, KDE, Division of School and Community Nutrition Program was excited to make this happen in Letcher County.
The conversation could have ended with Kevin Nichols, Letcher County Health Department, had he not been willing to go through the process with us. Make limited time available to outline the steps for procuring the Temporary Market License. Making sure our food server and manager classes were held prior to opening day. Not giving any breaks, but being certain we understood the next steps and areas of concern. Being certain we were inspected and ready to go by Wednesday, before he took off for his daughter’s wedding.
We knew a food booth was needed. One call to David Day of the Mountain Shrine Club and within a few days a trailer was delivered to keep on site for the summer. No charge. Thank you Mountain Shrine Club and David and Harold for delivering.
We knew we didn’t want breakers blowing with power surges, Robert Lewis was there on Friday evening before the market opened to be sure we were set. Thanks to the Mountain Heritage Festival Committee for the use of a 10 gauge extension cord during the market. Robert moved his daughter on Friday and worked from six to eight to be sure we were ready to go.
Special thanks to Colleen for making everything taste so good. Colleen works at other sites through the week and will be with the market on Saturday. Colleen also worked at Courthouse Café until it recently closed at the end of May.
Thanks to our Mayor, James Wiley Craft and the City Council f or their support and sponsorship. Our new Market managers, Hilary Neff and Abby Maggard. Our Robertson Scholar, Graham Adeson for his efforts.
I’m just especially proud of my community and believe we can do great things with support from others such as Grow Appalachia , Community Farm Alliance, UK Appal-TREE Project, KY Dept. of Education when we support each other. We need more veggies…but we’re growing. Always thankful for the Cowan Community Center for laying the foundation for good things to happen.