Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Local Food Initiative In Barbour County Schools

Today, WesMonTy RC&D Coordinator Jason Teets and Sustainable Projects Coordinator Ben Nemeth had a meeting with the County Food Service Director of Barbour County schools.
During this meeting, expectations were set on what would be needed to begin a local food based initiative with the Barbour County schools. Currently, the school district receives federal grant funds that focus specifically on healthy food initiatives in the schools. One part of this takes the form of a snack several days per week. We have worked out an agreement to assist in the procuring of local food for the snack, as well as using foods that the children may not be exposed to otherwise. The local food can easily be provided for with current resources in the community. It is also important to expose children to a variety of foods to help encourage a healthy diet and also to affect the wave of food related health problems that are so prevalent in West Virginia.
A very important, and unique, aspect of this project is the sourcing of food through the local Community Garden Market. The market, being the main hub for local food in Barbour county is the ideal place to purchase the food from. This will keep it all very local and ensure that the producers benefit from this project.
A tour of WesMonTy's projects was also conducted. A visit to the Community Garden Market (a receiver of funding through WesMonTy) showed the Director the main local food hub of Barbour County. It was a good demonstration as to the availability of these foods especially entering the cold season. Finally, we took short trip to Chestnut Ridge to look at the high tunnel and low-tunnel projects. We were able to demonstrate WesMonTy's work towards assisting local producers with season extension and what our vision for the future is. Also at the high tunnel, we met with Jeff Sickler and spoke about his efforts and his excitement for the project.
The meeting went very well and the Director was able to see the a portion of our projects and get a better sense of what we are doing. This is a very exciting partnership between WesMonTy and Barbour County schools. Next week could possibly be the first week of the project, with local food being used in local schools!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Food Corps

After submitting a letter of intent to Food Corps, WesMonTy was selected to submit an RFP!
WesMonTy was only one of a handful of organizations selected to represent their state in the upcoming site selection process. 105 organizations from 40 states applied.
Now WesMonTy is requested to submit an RFP that will be sent out today.
This is a very exciting piece of news and we will continue to work hard towards hosting volunteers in September 2011!

Local Producer Success Story

Congratulations to local producers Jeff (Pictured) and Lisa Sickler on their big sale to the Shop N' Save in Belington. Jeff and Lisa live in the Chestnut Ridge community and aside from having a high tunnel where they grow amazing produce, they also grow beautiful Chrysanthemums. They began by selling their mums at the Community Garden Market in downtown Philippi, and they were being sold as fast as they could supply them. They were also able to sell some at the local Southern States store.
Several weeks ago, Jeff approached the Belington Shop n' Save when he heard they were buying local produce. At the sight of his mums, they immediately bought several hundred that he had on hand!

Consistent with the Community Garden Market, their mums have sold out quickly, and have impressed not only the management at the Belington Shop n' Save, but a regional manager as well.

The mums have been so popular and are of such high quality, that they were recently asked to grow some for next year! They now have an agreement with the Belington Shop n' Save to grow several hundred just for them. They also may be able to supply several other area stores with mums as well!

Congratulations to Jeff and Lisa on your recent successes!

Our advice to you is to buy them when you see them because they won't last long on the shelf!

Friday, September 17, 2010

South Morgantown Farmers Market

Two weeks ago, South Morgantown Farmers Market on US-119 received funding from WesMonTy to run a large ad in the local newspaper. WesMonTy visited the market to see the results of this ad.

The results were incredible. According to the market manager Lesa Gay, the market has seen it's best business after ads of this size have been run. As you can see from the pictures, the market was bustling, and many people came out, enjoyed the weather and spoke with the friendly local producers.

This market is such a great social meeting place for the community. It allows neighbors to come together, support their local producers, and enjoy some company.
Congratulations to the South Morgantown Farmers Market on their great success!

The South Morgantown Farmers Market is open Thursday's from 4:30 to 7:30. Please visit their website for more information: http://www.smcfarmersmarket.org/