In the elementary school, during our study of nutrition, we’ve had some excellent guest speakers presenting to us about nutritious food and how to access it in our local community. Last week we had Ms. Vonder Haar’s sister from the Columbia Farmer’s Market, and this week we were visited by Tim Gibbons, the communication director for Missouri Rural Crisis Center. He was joined by Alex Ewing, the coordinator for Patchwork Family Farms.

MRCC is a statewide non-profit farm membership organization that’s been around since 1985 (they just celebrated their 30th year in 2015!). MRCC works to ensure independent family farms in rural Missouri are protected and stay active and thriving so their products can successfully reach consumers and so rural communities can prosper. Patchwork Family Farms was created by MRCC and works in collaboration with local family farmers to ensure family farm pork is available in local grocery stores, such as Hy-Vee and Clovers, and offered on the menus in many restaurants in Columbia, such as Sycamore, Broadway Brewery, the Broadway Diner and nearly 30 others.

We learned about how hogs are raised the traditional way , the importance of ensuring farmers have access to markets and are paid a fair price, and how good pork tastes from hogs raised by Missouri’s independent family farmers!

We also talked about backyard gardens, farmers growing for farmer’s markets and how food gets to one’s table from the farm. After, Tim and Alex served some delicious samples of Patchwork Family Farm pork. Students then broke off into pairs where they created pictures of sequencing of farm to table. Students were engaged and very interested in learning more about food and how it arrives on their dinner plates, and everyone wanted more samples. Yum!