CCOF Foundation Trustees Visit Pacific Elementary School

On November 17, CCOF Foundation Trustees Allen Harthorn (Harpos Organics), Phil LaRocca (LaRocca Vineyards), and Malcolm Ricci (Bolthouse Farms), and CCOF staff Cathy Calfo, Jessy Beckett Parr, and Madelaine Baer visited with students, teachers, and parent volunteers at Pacific Elementary School in Davenport, California.

All of Pacific School’s students are participating in the planting and care of a 16-tree organic fruit orchard, with a boost from their $1,000 grant from the 2016 Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund. The grant will cover the costs of tress, automated irrigation, and educational signs. Ultimately, the fruit will be harvested and incorporated into the school’s student-run meal and snack program, Food Lab.

Featured Photo (above): CCOF Foundation board and staff with parent volunteer John Fisher in the school’s beautiful organic garden. Every student spends at least an hour in the garden a week. Parent, teacher, and student volunteers help take care of the garden in the summer months.

The students work alongside a kitchen coordinator. Their organic produce is sourced directly from the Agriculture & Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), a local farmer training program; they also receive donations from local organic producers. They buy only organic milk and eggs. The cost of food is covered in part by the USDA school meal program, and the rest is covered through parent donations and fundraisers.

The students were very excited to hear directly from the organic farmers. We were all thrilled to see how many students raised their hand when asked if they knew what the USDA organic label was.

Our organic “Thanksgiving Lunch.” All the food was prepared from scratch by the school’s fifth and sixth grade students. We ate the delicious meal in the school’s tiny library surrounded by books.

The Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund is made possible by the generous support of CCOF, the UNFI Foundation, the CCOF Processor/Handler Chapter, the Clif Bar Family Foundation, Dr. Bronner’s, Driscoll’s, Duncan Family Farms, Forager Project, Frey Vineyards, Frontier Co-op, Green Ox Pallets, Independent Natural Food Retailers Association, National Co+op Grocers, Organic Valley, and SunRidge Farms. Thank you to these organizations for helping us inspire the next generation of organic farmers!