Americorps Volunteer Fights To Keep Local Foods Program Going In Pocahontas Schools

Marlinton, WV – Adrienne Cedarleaf (Juergens) has been working with the farm to schools program in Pocahontas County for a couple of years now. In order to qualify for the federal funding needed to keep it going, a $6000.00 cash match is needed. She presented a second request for money at the Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting Monday night.

“It’s for an Americorps member to come and do the farm to school program that I’ve been doing,” says Cedarleaf. “It’s a one year full time [grant] and that pays for their living stipend and also health insurance. You’ll get $20,000.00 dollars[in] federal matching funds.”

Cedarleaf says the Pocahontas County Commission provided the cash match for the first two years. She’s used her position to teach kids and teachers at county schools about gardening, health and wellness, and says her lesson plans have included required content standard objectives or CSO’s for the students. She also gave the board a drawing for ornamental and vegetable gardens at Marlinton Middle school, a project she hopes to begin soon. Through that program, students will have the opportunity to become certified as junior master gardeners.

Board member Emery Grimes expressed some concerns about the safety of farm to school foods. But Cedarleaf says the program is about more than just the agricultural products.

“Farm to school isn’t just necessarily getting local foods in the schools either,” she says. “You don’t even have to go that route if you don’t want to. A lot of it is what I’ve been doing; doing nutrition lessons, small gardens at the school where kids can learn how to grow. And then you could donate food to the local food pantry.”

The Board took no action on the request Monday night, because it listed on the agenda as an update only, without a specific request for approval by the board. Board President Kenny Vance also says the board has yet to see a budget for the next fiscal year, making it difficult to commit to the request. The board asked Cedarleaf to request another extension on the deadline to apply for the funding.

In other business, Harlan Whiting, Vice-Commander of the Pocahontas County Veterans Honor Corps, told board members about their initiative to place American flags in every classroom in the county schools. The Honor corps completed that program on March 22nd and presented a flag to Vance for the Board office Monday night.

Suzanne Stewart told the Board about a joint project of the Durbin and Marlinton Lions Clubs.

“The Durbin and Marlinton Lions Clubs are getting together to do an Arbor Day project,” she says. “And it’s for all fourth grade students in the county. We’re going to provide them each a sapling to take home and plant.”

“Arbor Day is on April 13th which is spring break, so we’re hoping to do it the week before so they will have them in time. We’ve spoken to each of the Principals and they’re happy to do it.”

She says they’ll distribute 85 trees to the kids. This project is sponsored by the International Lions Club.

On the personnel agenda, the Board approved Cammy Kesterson and Linda Beverage as Co-EDGE coordinators at the high school, and rescinded the employment of Loretta Irvine as a substitute cook and aide for the county schools.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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