Our farm-to-school partnership had begun when we were
selling watermelon to the Bowling Green City schools several
years before, so that seemed like the perfect place to start. We
were invited to attend the school’s Back to School Bash, give
out samples of watermelon and get to know the community. It
was an exciting time as we shared the wide variety of fruits and
vegetables grown on our farm. When school starts, watermelons
are one of the first items on the menu in the school cafeteria. It
is the perfect way for kids to quench their thirst and replenish
electrolytes during the summer heat.
One of the first things we noticed after moving to Allen County
in 2014 was that the school system here was already doing an
excellent job including fruits and vegetables on the menu in
their lunchrooms. They were also sourcing some of those items
through local farmers. After connecting to professionals working
at the extension office, health department and school systems,
we were excited to jump in and get involved any way we could.
We grew our first plot of watermelon with friends with whom
we worshiped. The funds would benefit our friends Justin and
Ashley who were serving in Honduras. After the side of the
road sales weren’t as successful as we had hoped, the food
service director for the Bowling Green City schools offered to
purchase them. Having been on the other side helping farmers
connect farm to school, we found ourselves with an excellent
opportunity to continue supplying the school with fresh food.
Watermelon is an excellent crop for farmers interested in
wholesale because it can be pushed to the end of the season
and has a longer shelf life after harvest. Many of the other
favorite fruits and vegetables—like sweet corn, tomatoes, and
peppers—are less predictable and more challenging to fit into
the school calendar.
Thankfully, both the Bowling Green City and Allen County
schools have worked with us to creatively introduce the
vegetables that are grown year-round on our farm. Many of
the beautiful watercolors you see in this book were painted by
our friends Jenna and Dacia for our farm-to-school projects. It’s
been an excellent way for our farm to promote and expand the
nutritious greens and roots grown during fall, winter and spring
months across Kentucky.