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Southampton Earns Farm to School Award

The Southampton Union Free School District and the East End Farm to School Project have been awarded the prestigious Farm to School Partnership Award for finding creative ways to obtain and receive local farm products for integration into the meal programs at Southampton, Bridgehampton and Tuckahoe school districts.

“This award is a testament to the hard work put in by the Southampton School District’s food services director, Regan Kiembock, and her team, who work tirelessly to provide our students with fresh and healthy local foods,” said Superintendent of Schools Nicholas Dyno.

This is the second award that recognizes the district for facilitating a farm-to-school movement. In 2008, Southampton was recognized for collaborating with local farms, and in 2016, it was awarded a $98,000 farm-to-school grant that allows it to partner with the Bridgehampton and Tuckahoe school districts to enhance the farm-to-school initiative.

With the grant, the district has made incredible strides in increasing the amount of local produce in its schools’ cafeterias. Along with offering healthier meals for the 700-800 students who buy lunch every day, the initiative is also educating students about healthy options.

“We look at the cafeteria as a classroom,” said Kiembock. “We can teach students about healthy eating and the choices available.”

Because of this work, this school year, the district has begun to offer grain- and grass-fed burgers to students and has been holding monthly tastings where students sample local foods transformed into culinary delights, including gingered carrots, local kale and garlic pesto, apple salads, and butternut squash mac and cheese. In addition, the district has provided specialty chef and vegetation training to its cafeteria staff.