Wheat 2 Schools

Harvesting Hard Red Spring wheat variety Summit 515 at Whitehead Elementary school in Woodland, California – the second school to grow wheat as part of the Wheat 2 Schools project. (Photo courtesy of Claudia Carter)

Thanks to Civil Eats, after a while, for bringing Nan Kohler and her mission to our attention:

The Next Chapter for Farm to School: Milling Whole Grains in the Cafeteria

Elementary students processing whole wheat pasta with the wheat they harvested that season from their school’s wheat garden.

A new project in California aims to purchase mills for school cafeterias, marking the next step in years-long effort to bring local, whole grains to schools around the country.

Nan Kohler founded the milling company Grist & Toll in Pasadena, California in 2013 and her freshly milled flours have been a hit with bakers, chefs, and locavores ever since. But her abiding wish is to sell California-grown, freshly milled whole grain flour, which is nutritionally superior to refined flour, to the public schools in the area.

“If I could sell to anybody, I would sell to the school lunch programs,” Kohler says. “Then we start those little healthy bodies young, and we change those palates to look forward to delicious whole grain foods. And set them up for healthier lifestyle and eating habits going forward.”

The problem is that schools typically can’t afford Kohler’s flour. This fall, however, she is midwifing a project that will get whole grains into two California school districts. Along with the California Wheat Commission, she was recently awarded a $144,000 California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) grant that will enable Shandon Elementary in San Luis Obispo County to be the first public school in the U.S. to make its own flour using a stone mill on site. The grant, which is funded through March 2023, will cover the cost of the mill and two pasta extruders as well as the training for cafeteria staff to use both.

Read the whole article here.

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