It’s crunch time

Published 4:44 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Isle of Wight County Schools kicked off national farm-to-school month by making some noise on Oct. 5. Students, staff and state officials joined in the seventh annual “crunch heard ‘round the Commonwealth” by taking a bite into a Virginia-grown apple.

The school division held its event at the award-winning student-run farm behind Windsor Elementary, known as the Land Lab, where high school students enrolled in the division’s agriculture program learn the farming trade.

Guests included Virginia Department of Education Chief of Staff Jeremy Raley; state School Nutrition Program Coordinator Andrea Nannery; School Board members John Collick, Jason Maresh and Denise Tynes; Isle of Wight County Supervisor William McCarty; Del. Otto Wachsman, R-Sussex; Nicole Talton from Isle of Wight Economic Development; Jake Browder with the Natural Resources Conservation Service; local 4-H and Extension Service staff Livy Preisser, Tabatha Davis, Brandy Compton and Teresa Minton; Peanut Soil and Water Conservation District representatives Tara Williams, Reed Felts and Austin Magruder; local farmers Billy Gwaltney and Dee Dee Darden; Windsor Elementary Principal Ellen Couch, Assistant Principal Laura DeWees, and teacher Christine Byrum’s first-grade class; Smithfield High School Principal Patricia Cuffee and culinary arts teacher Scott Horne; representatives from IWCS food services provider Aramark; Superintendent Theo Cramer and central office staff; IWCS Farm Manager Daniel Judkins, Agriculture Teacher Jason Brittle and IWCS agriculture students.

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IWCS culinary arts students prepared refreshments for the guests using locally-sourced ingredients, including ham from Darden’s Country Store. Participants had the opportunity to tour the Land Lab and the Little Sprouts preschool program housed at Windsor Elementary.