Farm-fresh produce is on the menu at the Fergus Falls Public Schools. Our district is partnering with Fresh Connect Food Hub in Fergus Falls to procure local items for its farm to school program.

Fresh Connect purchases fruits and vegetables directly from small and midsize farmers in the region, and makes them available for schools and other institutions to purchase. The streamlined purchasing, weekly delivery service, and access to large quantities of items makes it convenient and easy to participate.

Seasonal items including cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, apples, watermelon, and cantaloupe (approximately 900 pounds of fresh vegetables and fruit) have been purchased and used on school lunch menus.

Food services director Becky Shearer states she is very pleased with the quality and freshness of the items — which are served on the lunch line in each school cafeteria.

PartnerSHIP 4 Health, the area statewide health improvement program, partners with Fresh Connect and supports providing locally-grown, fresh food to the students in our region to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.

544 Education

Foundation’s annual grant program

The 544 Education Foundation awarded $34,000 in grants to the Fergus Falls School District at its Oct. 13 board meeting. The foundation received 21 grant requests totaling $44,378.

With a $34,000 budget, they were able to completely fund 15 requests and partially fund three requests.

The grants that were awarded are as follows: sign for the “make a difference” service-learning program; 10 physical education uniforms for students; spelling city premium membership for third graders at Cleveland School; Flinn Scientific Electronic balance for the high school science department; bowling fees and scholarships for the adapted bowling team; 30 yoga mats and two instructional DVDs for the kindergarten and first graders at McKinley School; projection unit and document camera for a second grade classroom at Adams School; tower garden for a second grade classroom at Adams School; outdoor wheelchair for the prairie science classes; two programmable robots; two mini iPads and related accessories for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum; online early childhood music class through the MacPhail Music Center in Minneapolis; iPad Pro for the middle school and high school band programs; “most valuable otter” t-shirts (MVO recognizes students for increased academic achievement, positive behaviors and leadership); 30 sets of magna-tiles that will be used to teach STEM concepts at McKinley School; 40 graphing calculators that can be checked out through the Kennedy Secondary School library; 20 heart monitors for the area learning center’s personal wellness class; eight book bins for the library at Adams School; and $8,430 for a chromebook cart for the prairie science classes.

The grand total was $34,064. On behalf of the Fergus Falls School District, I would like to offer a big thank you for the generosity of the 544 Education Foundation.

We benefit greatly because of their wonderful donations.

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