Find the Spark to Create a Culture of Health at School
Over the years, research has told us that good nutrition, and physical activity leads to healthy students, good grades, and improved classroom performance. It’s part of the culture of health mission we all seek. And Spartanburg School District Six is leading the way in school nutrition through its Farm to School program and its very own farm.
Superintendent Dr. Darryl Owings has been on a mission to provide the more than 10,000 students in District Six with organic fruits and vegetables at meals and hands-on agriculture education opportunities. He has led a farm Initiative, in partnership with Spartanburg County Foundation, Upstate Forever, and Cragmoor Farms, to provide locally grown produce as an alternative to precooked meals. The farm is a 49-acre tract of land in Roebuck, SC that produces enough fresh fruits and vegetables to feed students in the district. They even host a farmer’s market for the community.
District Six students are actively involved in the growing process from germinating seeds in the greenhouse, transplanting the seedlings into the garden, and harvesting the fruits and vegetables for the schools and the community. Some students work on the farm while others learn with gardens and greenhouses at their schools. Some of the produce they’ve planted include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and watermelon.
One of the first steps Dr. Owings took to achieve his goal was to cancel the district contract with a major school food service company. He had to hire cafeteria employees, who went through culinary training to learn new methods of cooking and recipes utilizing the fresh produce. After years of heating up processed, frozen, and canned foods, the district has returned to cooking scratch-made and healthy meals that benefit their students’ health.
Dr. Darryl Owings will be one of three keynotes speakers at the Leadership Summit for Healthy Communities, October 29-30, at the Spartanburg Marriott. He’ll give insight into how his district was able to make impactful changes to the school cafeteria and classroom. Catch his address on Tuesday, October 30 in Spartanburg.