Children in Winters have reason to smile a big watermelon smile! On September 19, 2019, Cathy Olsen, Food Services Director for the Winters Joint Unified School District, was presented with the first ever Farm to Summer Week Challenge One in a Melon Award. Presented on behalf of the California Department of Education (CDE), Nutrition Services Division (NSD), and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Office of Farm to Fork, Winters was one of only 10 other awardees this year.
The One in a Melon Award is based upon the efforts of Olsen and her staff to “be among the best in (1) providing quality summer meals to children in Winters that included local ingredients, (2) engaging children with hands-on activities that created a positive learning environment when school was out, and (3) sharing their success with the community through social media.”
Colsen, a founding member of Winters Farm to School says “the award wouldn’t have been possible without the financial backing of Winters Farm to School. Winters Farm to School Summer gave us the additional resources needed to operate a successful summer feeding program that served 4,835 meals to children ages 2 – 18. Not only did we purchase fruits and vegetables from local farmers for the summer feeding program, we also harvested produce from the Waggoner School garden 2-3 times a week. That garden is funded by Winters Farm to School."
Olsen was told in the letter she received about the Melon Award, “We recognize that the summer months go by fast and there is limited time when operating a summer meal program to plan and implement additional services. We appreciate the extra time you took to find and procure local, fresh foods for your menu and to coordinate nutrition education activities for the children. These components are not required, but you did it anyway. This is what quality Summer Meal Programs are all about. Thank you for serving California's children nutritious, fresh meals and encouraging them to learn where their food comes from as a means to developing life-long healthy eating habits.”
“A big thank you needs to go out to our local farmers and our wonderful community that cares about the health and well-being of every child in our town,” said Olsen. “This is truly a small town with a big heart.”