TCSD leads in farm-to-school programming


Parents in the Trumansburg Central School District (TCSD) may have noticed the increase of local ingredients used in school meals this school year, in addition to more gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.

Everyday lunch options include at least one local or regional ingredient, or a Harvest of the Month recipe. Harvest of the Month recipes feature seasonal ingredients: tomatoes in September, apples and squash in October, and cauliflower and kale in November.

Throughout the rest of the 2019/2020 school year, featured ingredients will include beets and carrots in December, potatoes, sweet potatoes and cabbage in January, beans and seeds in February, maple and grains in March, milk and honey in April, asparagus and rhubarb in May, and salad greens and strawberries in June.

The improvements in school meals, which replaces processed foods with a variety of local foods, is funded in part by New York state, which supports schools by subsidizes an additional 19 cents per lunch purchased to schools that purchase at least 30% of their food from New York sources.

This provides an excellent opportunity for schools to create partnerships with local and regional producers. In the past year, TCDS has partnered with local producers Stick and Stone Farms, Silver Queen Farm, Sweetland Farm, Three Stone Farms, Remembrance Farm, Hoffmire Farms, The Piggery, Ithaca Soy, Schrader Meats, Slate Foods, Headwater Food Hub, Upstate Farms Dairy and Great Lakes Cheese.

While improving meals is the immediate outcome, partnering with local and regional producers offers opportunities that go beyond what is put on the plate. TCSD has put together a Farm to School program (FTS) team, including Director of School Nutrition Rosemarie Hanson, School Nutrition Assistant Torie Lines, Middle School Librarian and Project Based Learning (PBL) leader Gail Brisson and Teresa Naylor of the Trumansburg Education Foundation, along with Chloe Boutelle from Cornell Cooperative Extension and Jessica Barbini from Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day).

The team journeyed to Shelburne Farms in Vermont for the Northeast Farm to School Institute in order to develop a Farm to School Action Plan that defines both short- and long-term goals. At the core of the plan is the values statement, “Everyone eats, and what we eat matters. At Trumansburg Central School District, we value connecting to our community through the support of our local food system.”

A main goal of FTS is to get students more engaged in local foods, which is currently being accomplished through the regular school menu offerings along with special tastings of Harvest of the Month ingredients, both during the school day and at events such as open houses. At both the elementary and middle school open houses this year, the team made Vietnamese salad rolls with students and their families.

Expanding on this goal involves including teachers and tying local foods and food choices into classroom curriculum. The team recently held a professional development day with teachers where they discussed curriculum ideas to tie in to Farm to School and cooked potential lunch dishes with local foods. The school has also recently acquired a cooking cart that teachers can use in their classroom to cook with students.

Moving forward, the team hopes to go to the National Farm to School Conference this spring in Albuquerque. The possibilities of full integration of FTS are endless.

Other potential goals in the action plan include PBL opportunities, cooking competitions, cooking classes, farm-to-school based field trips, growing and preserving food, community engagement and more. While other schools in Tompkins County are participating in farm-to-school activities, there will certainly be more to come from TCSD, which is leading the charge in full farm-to-school integration.

In Brief:

Gemm Shop announces Trumansburg WinterFest raffle

As a kick-off to its 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2020, Trumansburg’s Gemm Shop is holding a WinterFest Raffle in conjunction with Trumansburg’s WinterFest, a family oriented street festival to be held on Main Street this year on Saturday, Dec. 7. Raffle tickets are $1 each, or six for $5, and they will be available at the Gemm Shop from Nov. 18 to Dec. 7, when the drawing will be held at 7 p.m.

Raffle prizes include a Lenox Holiday Open Weave bread basket; a tall etched glass paperweight; a Lenox Holiday tiered serving plate; four Kitchen Theatre tickets to any 2019-2020 mainstage performance; a plush extra-large teddy bear; a Cornell Hockey package including four tickets to Cornell Men’s Hockey vs. Clarkson on Saturday, Feb. 29; four Cornell pint glasses, a one-month free membership to Island Health and Fitness and a Cornell Hockey winter hat; and a Cornell Basketball package with four tickets to all Ivy League home games for Cornell men’s and women’s basketball (January - March 2020); four Cornell pint glasses; a one-month free membership to Island Health and Fitness; and a Cornell winter scarf.

Organized in 1970 as a one-year effort to raise money for high school band uniforms, the Gemm Shop just never stopped being successful. It is an all-volunteer consignment and donation shop specializing in gently used clothing, accessories and housewares, a favorite of people with growing children, those on the lookout for costumes and housewares and bargain hunters of all stripes.

All sales proceeds go back to the local communities and schools, and money made through the raffle will help support many local organizations in the coming year.

Encore Players auditions

Encore Players will be holding auditions for actors and singers for “Dark Hearts” the Villains Cabaret on Nov. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. and Nov. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterean Church at 69 E. Main St. in Trumansburg. Rehearsals will begin in January for a Valentine’s Day performance. Ages 21 and over, email for more details.

Comprehensive Plan Meeting

The Village of Trumansburg will hold a public meeting to introduce the Trumansburg Comprehensive Plan Update project on Nov. 21, at 7:00 p.m. at the Trumansburg Fire Hall, 74 W. Main St.

All Trumansburg community members are encouraged to attend this meeting to learn about and participate in the Comprehensive Plan Update project. The Project Team will be available to listen to your feedback and answer questions. For more information, please visit


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