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Ont. growers support local schools

Ont. growers support local schools

By Jonathan Martin

 

Ontario’s Fresh from the Farm school fundraiser is accepting submissions for 2019’s programming.

Through this program, farmers sell produce to their local schools. The products are bundled with fruits and vegetables from other growers. Students secure bundle orders, which are delivered to their schools’ gyms for pickup. The participating school makes 40 per cent of the revenue. The average school raises around $1,200, the Fresh from the Farm website says.

Don Poulin owns Don Poulin Potatoes Inc. He’s been providing potatoes to the program since its inception in 2013. In total, he says around 20,000 packages, or 100,000 lbs., of his spuds have gone to Ontario schools.

“It helps the local economy,” he told Farms.com. “And it lets kids know that freshness is closer to home than they think.”

Poulin’s farm is just outside Sudbury. The operation is a large-scale production facility that grows and packages a variety of potatoes. Since joining the program, a stream of younger boots has walked along his fields, Poulin said.

“I guess the students and teachers started asking where the potatoes came from,” he told Farms.com. “They asked to come see, so we were happy to have them. I like seeing their eyes get all wide when they see where (the produce) comes from.

“They go, ‘Wow! A big pile of potatoes!’ It makes me laugh.”

Seeing interest in local agriculture blossom among the next generation is important to Poulin, he said.

“It gets them to eat healthier, it stimulates the local economy and it builds connections within the community,” he said. “When kids meet with local producers, they get to see food safety, get educated on the production process and go home with a package.”

Besides, that’s a pretty cool field trip.

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