Updated: 09/04/2013 5:52 PM
Created: 09/04/2013 4:54 PM WHEC.com
By: Joangel Concepcion
Local farmers are getting a much needed boost in business, thanks to the Brockport School District. Last year was devastating for local farmers. Many lost up to 90 percent of their crops, due to some unusual weather. Many of those farms have been trying to bounce back from the loss and now that some school districts are shopping local, it may end up being a pretty successful year.
Starting today, all five schools throughout the Brockport School District will have fresh produce available every single day. This initiative has become a major source of help for local farmers,who in the past, have had to watch local students eat produce-shipped in from all over the nation. This year, the choice to go local couldn't have come at a better time.
If there's anyone that knows about mother nature's fury, it is local farmers.
Ronn Klein, Kirby Farms Manager, said, “We had an early summer in March and an early winter in April and it took 85% of our fruit trees.”
But now that more school districts are shopping local, farmers have a chance to make up for last year.
Klein said, “Now that it's being done locally through the school system instead of coming from out of state, we're pretty pleased about that.”
Brockport School officials were aware of how hard hit local farmers were and decided to help.
Jim Liebow, Brockport Food Service Director, said, “Support our local economy because, unfortunately, our local farmers have a tough time.”
Brockport Food Service Director Jim Liebow says students will now see more local fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria. The goal was to keep the money in the community and to make sure students had fresh produce. These apples were picked just days ago, just a few miles away. And for the taxpayers, Liebow says shopping local knocks out the middle man and knocks down the cost, all while providing healthier meals for kids.
Liebow said, “It's not just about serving food, it's also about trying to educate the students about proper nutrition and hopefully some of the things that happen in the school will rub off at home.”
In the end, a win-win situation for the kids and for the farmers.
Klein said, “We're looking for a very favorable summer with our fruit and with our produce and we think that it can't hurt.”
The Brockport Central School District is currently working with eight different farms.They are about a handful of school districts that shop local. School officials there are hoping other districts will follow their lead.