Farm to School in Remote Areas; Rikkilyn Starliper


00:00:08 Michelle

Welcome to the farm to school podcast where you will hear stories of how kids lives have been changed by cooking and eating local foods and schools.

00:00:17 Rick

We're your hosts, Rick Sherman.

00:00:19 Michelle

And Michelle Markstein, we are farm to school coordinators for the state of Oregon.

00:00:23 Rick

In this episode, we're digging deep into farm to school in a remote frontier Esque area. Our special guest today is Rikkilyn Starliper, the Nutrition services director for Umatilla School District.

00:00:37 Michelle

Hi, Rikkilyn.

00:00:38 Rick

So good to have you here.

00:00:39 Rikkilyn

Hello, thank you for having me.

00:00:42 Rick

It's our pleasure. Hey, could you to start us out, tell us about yourself and how you got the start at Umatilla School District?

00:00:50 Rikkilyn

Well, when I started I worked with the Umatilla school district aand with my interim office actually working for the Intermountain ESD OK, so I was stationed at Umatilla and the previous food service director and the Superintendent encouraged me to apply for the Food service director position because the the previous one was getting ready to retire. OK.

00:01:20 Rick

Did you just? It was like the start of the year and you were thrown in there. And how was your learning curve with that?

00:01:28 Rikkilyn

So they started me in 2013 and the idea was that I was going to be able to train with the previous food service director as his assistant for a year. And he was headed out the door because his wife was having some significant medical problems and he didn't make it a year. So I only actually got to train with him for four to five months.

00:01:51 Rick

I remember talking with you about like how do I do this? You know this? Whatever program we were doing in it and it can be overwhelming if you get thrown in there. But I mean, look at you now. I mean you are a shining example of all food service directors in Oregon. So I appreciate you.


Well, thank you.

00:02:11 Michelle

And I'm wondering for our listeners who don't know where Umatilla is or haven't been there is like. Could you paint a picture for us?

00:02:19 Rikkilyn

So Umatilla is about 6 miles from Hermiston and it sits in between the Umatilla and the Columbia River, where they go together, parts of it, it they call it, sometimes call it the twin rivers, because both of them are right there and then. Across the bridge is Washington, so we're right on the border. The Columbia River is the border for Oregon and Washington. And we're actually right.

00:02:48 Rick

Hermiston, for those of you who don't know, it's in our world. It's world famous for growing. What? What? And it's about that time of year when they're going to start showing up in all of our stores. But it's the most amazing watermelons ever. And you guys probably serve them until almost October, right?

00:03:07 Rikkilyn

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

00:03:08 Michelle

That's amazing. So is again, painting a picture. Is it like, tropical and lush? Are there big skyscrapers?

00:03:17 Rikkilyn

No, it is very rural in Umatilla. We have one tiny little grocery store that has been there for as long as I can. Number and and any other grocery stores you have to drive into Hermiston to get to or over to tri-cities. Hermiston even Hermiston only has four grocery stores, 5 grocery stores. They do have a stoplight.

00:03:39 Rick

Do they have stoplights? OK, I have a stoplight in Jefferson where I live. OK, so. So you're in north Eastern Oregon. For those of you who don't know, Oregon, we have the Cascade Mountain range going down the middle of the state.

00:03:47 Rikkilyn

Until it doesn't have a stoplight.

00:03:58 Rick

And the West side is more green and the side is high desert. It's very much desert. So I always say like the farming over there as you put the shovel on the ground and it goes clank and you either make your own dirt or you ranch right or a lot of ranching and things like that.

00:04:03 Rikkilyn

Very much. That's right. That's a ranching.

00:04:18 Michelle

So hey, so how many students are there and about how many meals?

00:04:26 Rikkilyn

So we have currently 1400 students in our district we have three schools and we are CEP and have been since 2013. So we have a pretty high participation and most of all kids eat.

00:04:41 Rick

Could you say what CEP stands for and just so for those of you?

00:04:45 Rikkilyn

Community eligible provisions. So all kids eat breakfast and lunch and dinner for.

00:04:50 Michelle

Free. That's amazing. Yes. Wow.

00:04:50 Rick

For free.

00:04:52 Rick

Yeah. And so and again, just I'm trying to paint a picture of the ruralness. Would it be safe to say and it's been a while since I've been over, it's been a couple of years, but since I've been over there, but I remember, like a neighbors house might be 3 miles away, or you know they could be. It's a vast open area right outside of town.

00:05:15 Rikkilyn

Right, correct. We have we've grown quite a bit in the last couple of years since you have been there because we have some Amazon buildings that are being put in our outskirts. And so they're building more housing, more people, not more enemies.

00:05:31 Rick

Yeah, interesting. Some of the stories that I hear about Eastern Oregon is it's how you get your food. Could you tell me? I'm assuming you get distributors or the big semi trucks. They're able to come over and and visit you, but not necessarily some of those neighboring towns that I was trying to talk about. Is that right?

00:05:59 Rikkilyn

Correct. Although I've run into so I just recently was doing some procurement with fresh produce and out of five of the vendors that I contacted, they all stopped shy of me.

00:06:16 Rick

So when they stop shy of you, what does that mean for you is?

00:06:19 Rikkilyn

So, for instance, one of them was out of Boise and they stop in Pendleton. They don't come any further on 84.

00:06:27 Rick

So what they do, what they call us, dark stuff? Or would they drop food off and you would have to get it? Or you just so you're out of luck.

00:06:33 Rikkilyn

That wasn't as I mean that wasn't something they were willing to offer. I mean, if I really, really had to do it, I would definitely.

00:06:36 Rick


00:06:41 Rikkilyn

You know, visit that option and one of the other ones was out of Portland, and they stopped in Hood River, and they also didn't go any further that direction.

00:06:49 Rick

So that that is real world problems. I'm glad as I was a food service director for 20 years in Oregon and I didn't have those problems where I came from. I could pick up the phone and I could get either small farms or medium farms or whatever to deliver to me.

00:07:09 Rick

And then but for you, I remember your journey. You took the bull by the horns, so to speak. And you were able to change the way.

00:07:22 Rick

Farms in your area deal with that. I like to hold you up as an example of how to get things done. Could you could you share with us your your journey and how you did that?

00:07:34 Rikkilyn

So I believe it was about October of 2013 when I received my first farm to school. Which I was super excited about because of the importance of putting the money right back into your own community.

00:07:47 Rick

And can you share with the listeners what you you said a farm to school award. So it's in our state we have a grant that enables you to get reimbursed for Oregon grown or local Oregon grown or processed food. So just OK, thank you. I just just wanted to kind of mention that off there. OK, so so you were able to.

00:08:00 Rikkilyn

That's correct that Yep.

00:08:04 Rikkilyn

To clarify.

00:08:08 Rick

Get reimbursed for food. Go on.

00:08:10 Rikkilyn

So I was given an award through the farm to school grant and I really didn't know how to go about spending it, but I was super excited about the idea of farm to school because it went right back into our community and our local farmers. So I picked up the Yellow Pages because it was long enough ago that that was a requirement. It wasn't as much Google back then, especially farmers, like they weren't really out on the web so. I started with the Yellow Pages and went through and called every single one of them from Boardman, Irrigon Hermiston. Even as far as melting free water on Walla Walla. Pendleton looking for anybody that I could purchase fresh local produce from.

00:08:55 Rick

And and you told me. I remember the story. Way that some of the biggest farms in the country are out in your area, but they sell to China and they just didn't sell retail, right?

00:09:05 Rikkilyn

Right, that was the answer I was given by almost every one of them I called was. That they don't do retail and I was just amazed by that because it wasn't.

00:09:14 Rick

What made them change? What? What?

00:09:16 Rikkilyn

Well, after keep I kept, you know, hitting brick walls. I was like, well, this isn't going to work. So I started going to. We have a couple between Umatilla and Irrigon. There's a couple of fruit stands. And so I went to them and they didn't have enough product that they were able to supply what I was requesting or what I needed to be able to so that every kid got some of it. So then I was driving home one day to Hermiston and I drove past a a little stand that was set up at a corner in Hermiston and it was fresh berries, so I pulled in there and I said, you know, I need to spend this farm to school funds. And I really wanted to go to a local farmer. Is there any way that you can, you know, sell me berries? And she said, sure, I don't have enough here, but you can follow me to my farm. And we'll load them right up in your car. And I was like, alright. So every week I went out there and I bought berries from. That farm your pickup. And actually a Ralph 4, OK.

00:10:25 Rick

Even better, great.

00:10:25 Rikkilyn

Yeah, yeah, I put all the seats down and I couldn't hardly see out the back and I loaded them up every week and got the fresh berries to the children. The kids loved them. They kept asking me where they were from because they were so much different. And they absolutely loved them because they were so much sweeter and fresher. And I just continued doing that until I was able to put in the reimbursement for that.

00:10:50 Rick

Years. I'm glad you said the kids notice the difference. I always say don't bother doing farm to school unless you tell them, but did they find that out on themselves, or did you? Kind of said these are from this farm or.

00:11:02 Rikkilyn

So they asked before I did put anything out just because I didn't know I was going to find them that week and I didn't want them to. So you know bad. So we had them on the salad bar the next day, so that they were that fresh. And then after that I had kids coming up and asking me and I was like You know I really need to put this form out here, so I made signs next to all the berries and put them on the salad bar so that they knew what those berries were from and that they were from right. In Stanfield, OR so they knew it was.

00:11:33 Rick

Close. Well, that's good on you because I that's an eye opener for me because I always. Figure that kids won't know unless you tell them, but at least they saw it was such a difference. Probably in like between, like frozen blueberries you put out there that are shriveled and a brand new fresh one. So so good for you. That's that's great.

00:11:56 Michelle

And so you went from buying berries from 1 farm to today, correct. And what are the kids getting in your district nowadays?

00:12:05 Rikkilyn

So I'm working on a melon contract.Right now and then I had a farmer that just recently quit farming last year. But throughout all of these years we've had their melons and we had the pickle cucumbers, the kids absolutely love those. And started eating a lot more cucumbers. Once we put the baby cucumbers out there because I feel like they just liked the way it looked and that it looked different and it was small. They could hold it in their hand and eat it like an apple.

Then we have their fresh lettuce, all from that same farmer. And then what else? Oh, lemon cucumbers. They she did a special lunch box. Pepper area for just us at the schools.

00:13:03 Rick

I had some wonderful purple potatoes when I was visiting your school a couple of years ago.

00:13:08 Rikkilyn

Yeah, we did purple potatoes. That was a lot of fun, and we did them every day. We did them in different. So one day we did mashed potatoes. The next day we did roasted potatoes just so that the kids got to taste them in all. Different aspects and so lot tons and.

00:13:25 Michelle

So it sounds like, yeah, lots of different variety of produce, but also doing it in different forms. Yeah, so that maybe it's new to them and novel. Do you do other dairy or meat products or?

00:13:37 Rikkilyn

I actually just bought meat for the first time this summer and dairy no.

And I try to keep like I'd never replaced. I only had four farmers that I would use on a regular basis and one producer. And I try to focus all of my Farm to school funds to those five just to keep it so that it was beneficial to them. But yet they were able to give me the variety that I would like to offer.

00:14:07 Rick

And it's important to know too, I think I think, correct me if I'm wrong on this, but those were farmers that didn't sell to schools and they not only sell to you, but they sell to other school districts now, right?

00:14:18 Rikkilyn

Correct. Yeah. The the ones Berry stand that I found back in 2013 that I've buying been buying from ever since. Now I believe sells to approximately 60 different schools throughout Oregon.

00:14:34 Michelle

So that's really grown their entire side of the business, yes, Yep.

00:14:34 Rick

That that is a that's a new market for them that they didn't know existed. And I remember them saying, and I know who you're talking about. I've spoken with the owner at a school board association gathering. And I remember him saying, you know, it just made sense because it felt like the right thing to do to teach kids.

About food again, and to see that their local food wasn't only going to China, but it was going to feed them so perfect.

00:15:00 Rikkilyn

Yes, and and for the kids to know where it came.

00:15:03 Rick

Ohh nice.

00:15:04 Michelle

And Ricky Lynn, I just want to make one distinction too. I mentioned dairy. And you said no local dairy, but so our listeners know that actually like all meals, reimbursable meals, particularly for lunch, would have fluid milk in them. And that is local foods. But you're referring to using your grant dollars from the state of Oregon. Correct. OK. Yeah. I just want to just know that there is dairy in each.

00:15:30 Rikkilyn

Yeah, just not through the farm to school program, yeah.

00:15:34 Rick

I'm wondering, do you know off the top of your head like how much percentage of your budget you spend locally on that on like is it 20%, is it 10%, is it so many dollars and it's OK, I don't mean to put you on the spot here, but.

00:15:54 Rikkilyn

In addition to my farm to school funds, is that what you're referring to?

00:15:56 Rick

Sure, sure. Whatever.

00:15:59 Rikkilyn

I would say, well, I don't. So when farm to school dollars run out per say, my spending with the farmers don't change. So I would say that I probably spend at least 10 to 15% of my budget directly to local producers and farmers in addition to farm to school funds.

00:16:22 Rick

And I know you have like, we're talking about that, grant. There's plenty of dollars that you don't claim that you're you're doing that. And so that's why it's such a wonderful example for me to point you out to other neighboring school districts who are like, hey, they asked me, they like I I can't find local farmers and it's like, you know, they don't know if there's any available in Eastern Oregon. It's like, well, I know some people in Eastern Oregon do a fabulous job. And I kind of call call Ricky. You know she'll she'll help you. But there's there's ways we can. We can certainly help them, but I think that's just a really good message that there are school districts that that do an outstanding job like you so.

00:17:07 Michelle

So you mentioned you tell students what they're eating on the lunch line. Do you also tell the parents or other folks in the community what's going on?

00:17:16 Rikkilyn

We have not done very well with marketing. It's something that my program has a whole has been working on in the last year or so, just because we do a lot of great, amazing things and we don't necessarily take the time to put that out there. We just got recently last year got a new communications person in our district which is amazing. And so I've had her come to all the taste things, and she puts them on the website and puts them on Instagram and sends them all home. When we do tastings. When we do last year, we did a tasting with one of our apple farmers and he came and had four different variety of apples and the kids got to taste each one of them and he talked to them about where it came from and how long he's been farming. And all of those amazing things, just as an education, right in the cafeteria. And that also was on Instagram and Facebook for the parents to see in a newsletter.

00:18:09 Michelle

Have you had other farmers or producers come into schools?

00:18:13 Rikkilyn

I have well.Besides, the Berry farmer came and visited our summer feeding location on Friday and got to hand out some of our berries while we were there to our families.

00:18:27 Michelle

And I'm wondering if there's one thing you could tell parents about the school meal program, because I know it's often talked about different ways in the media, and no one's really sure what's going on in school sometimes or it's food, maybe an afterthought. What's one thing you'd like parents and families to know about your school program?

00:18:47 Rikkilyn

We work really hard to make sure that it's healthy and nutritious and that the kids are going to actually enjoy it to everything, to doing surveys, to going to leadership meetings, to talk to the students. Obviously, we can't make everybody love every single menu item, but we're working towards doing scratch. Cooking and there hasn't been a year even, I mean, even without farm to school dollars, we always do fresh produce on our salad bar every day. And that, I think is extremely important for kids to understand. And I also have a lot of great support with all of the principals and vice principals. I I didn't mention that when I was talking about administrators and the communications specialist has been an amazing add to our program and I plan to do a lot of nutrition education and marketing as far as those things are concerned, now that we have that position available. Yeah, we went from a district office where we all wore so many hats because there was only a few of us to, now we're expanding that so that we can do more of those fun, exciting things which I think is great.

00:19:59 Rick

I always loved it when I was a food service director. When principals, they would invite me to their principal meeting every month and they would. I would give an update so they would be in the loop of everything and that's always nice to be part of the team.

00:20:12 Rikkilyn

Yes, I was actually at a meeting not too long ago. A separate training or meeting and they were very surprised some of the other food service directors that were there were very surprised that myself and the Superintendent and all the principals and administrators meet once a week. And we always had to keep that line of communication going well and making sure that we're all on the same page and that we can somehow benefit one another, whether they have, you know, a a school, a special group or college coming into the high school that we could maybe do a special menu item for or you know just that collaboration and I love that in our district.

00:20:54 Michelle

What's one of your favorite things on the menu?

00:21:02 Rikkilyn

I would have to say haystacks or tamales. With haystacks so haystacks is our homemade chili that we put over the top of Tortilla chips and then add cheese to the top, then on the salad bar. We have fresh tomatoes and lettuce and onions and sour cream and salsa, and so they could basically make like a Taco.

00:21:30 Rick

Chili Taco. Oh, that sounds really good.

00:21:31 Michelle

Sounds fantastic. I love the naming too. That's so eastern. Oregon, right?

00:21:37 Rikkilyn

Yeah, that's for sure. You do see haystacks out there. Yes, for sure.

00:21:38 Rick

I was gonna say that.

00:21:43 Michelle

And then are there school gardens in your district?

00:21:46 Rikkilyn

Yes, actually we've had one that's been, you know, kind of unused OK for about 5 years and then somebody will be really interested in it and then they'll kind of just not be there anymore or lose interest. And it's been something that I've really struggled to have time to keep up on outside of everything else but I am super excited to say that we just finished our we just revitalized our entire school garden at Mcnairy and it and now includes 8 beds, a lot, a couple other side, little little Potter things too, and my food court person took a master gardener class last year and she is super excited to get back and she started back today.

00:22:35 Rick

Ohh nice.

00:22:39 Rikkilyn

But she's currently out of the country, but she'll be back in a week. And then we also have all of the items to revitalize the one at our middle school high school, which will also include six to eight beds. And we finally, I don't know if you remember the story of the possessed.

00:22:58 Rick

Greenhouse. Oh, the greenhouse. OK, yes, OK. OK.

00:23:00 Rikkilyn

Because that's the greenhouse.

00:23:04 Michelle

Did you say possessed greenhouse?

00:23:06 Rikkilyn

So our after school program actually got a grant for this wonderful greenhouse and have had problems getting it constructed for. I want to say 12 years now.

00:23:21 Rick

Ohh Gee.

00:23:22 Rikkilyn

Lost parts somebody was like signed a contract to do it and then left the country. I mean like just every possible thing that could go wrong with this poor greenhouse has gone wrong, but we actually have it standing and being utilized right now. And that happened last year. It was a company that volunteered to come and construct our greenhouse. If they could use it for an experiment.

For I don't know the all the details on it, but it was a camera that they took pictures of the strawberry leaves and it would tell you all the nutrients in it, which is a pretty awesome thing. So they did their experiment and now it's ours.

00:23:56 Rick

Oh wow. OK. Utilize. Now another thing about gardening over there so. To tell the listeners. What? How hot is it right now in humid tilla? What's the?

00:24:13 Rikkilyn

Today is a fairly cool day, and it's only 97.

00:24:16 Rick

Ohh, only 97. That's a cool date.

00:24:19 Rikkilyn

We had overcast today, so it was a lot cooler and actually as we were driving up, I was like man, it feels warmer in in Salem, which is odd.

00:24:25 Rick

And said yeah, but you get triple digits all the time. Yeah, in the summer. So that's that. Can that can be an issue. Yeah. Yeah.

00:24:33 Michelle

And you mentioned. A food Corps member for our listeners. What? What is a food corps?

00:24:38 Rikkilyn

Member. So I've actually had one food Corps member for. Well, a different one for the last five years and they come into our school and they do nutrition education. They help me with things that I was solely trying to do by myself, but.The food court as doing a monthly tasting at the elementary school. She's doing waste audits currently at once a month as well at the elementary school, and I have a second member that actually can do secondary. So she's for the district, not necessarily assigned K to five, which is normally what food court.

00:25:14 Michelle

Yes. And so for our listeners, food court is a national service program under the AmeriCorps family. And so it's a national deployment of boots on the grounds of school gardeners.

00:25:15 Rick

OK. Not all states have them, but Oregon is lucky enough. I think we normally have, like, I don't know, 13 or 14 of them. Spread around the state.

00:25:33 Michelle

And one thing you mentioned was revitalizing school gardens. We find a lot of time school gardens ebb and flow. Depending on who's volunteering to take care of it or the availability of a service member. And I'm just curious your thoughts on like how could that aspect of farm to school be more sustainable? Like what do you think we really need dreaming big?

00:25:55 Rick

And there's no wrong answer here because we don't know the answer to this. So if you can tell us, great, but if not, no pressure.

00:26:03 Rikkilyn

Well, and it may actually already exist, and I may not be aware of it to be honest. I think that the whole farm to school food, education. As a whole, it would be very helpful if we could somehow have funding for a FTE for that position.

00:26:25 Michelle

And meaning, what would would it be the education component or procurement as well, what's that?

00:26:32 Rick

Or both.

00:26:33 Rikkilyn

I feel like a combination. Oregon Department of Education. Well, no child nutrition funds are very specific as to how they can be spent, and it's not something I've looked into before, but I feel like a nutrition education slash farm to school keep up the school garden position. Even whether it's part time, full time, depending on the schools, I feel like that in order for these programs to continue, that needs to happen.

00:27:08 Rick

That sounds wonderful. Thank you.

00:27:10 Michelle

Rick's giving a thumbs up. I do.

00:27:13 Michelle

What's something about your program? We haven't asked you that you'd like us to know about.

00:27:19 Rikkilyn

Well, I've kind of spoke to it a little bit and the fact that it's definitely grown when I first started, I didn't have food court. I didn't and I was trying as a director to do all these really amazing things like I I taught a nutrition education class in our after school program. So that we had one before I had a Food core. I did the tastings once a month and those kinds of things, and it just became too much. I mean, so I started reaching out for other options as far as you know, bringing in food course so that they could help me do some of those fun things. And that's where back to that having that position.

And those funds just specifically for those things to use I think would be really beneficial and I guess I just want to really point out I feel it's so important. I feel like farm to school is like one of the best programs ever, and I think that it is so important because I grew up in a farming community and I love the fact that I can run into the Berry farmer at the grocery store and it's somebody that you know, I know his parents. He you know, he seen, I mean, every one of my farmers, actually, I have literally run into them and and one my apple farmer I ran into at the river fishing, you know, because they're right there in our community. And I just feel like that I love the pride in being able to put that nutritious fruit and vegetables and produce and on the table for the children for and that they're it's coming from their neighbors and that we're putting the money right back into the community.

00:29:10 Rick

Hmm, that is, that is so awesome. And yeah, I live in a farming community too, and I don't mind getting stuck behind combines for cause. It's it's like that's how we eat. Yeah, that's that's true. Yeah.

00:29:24 Michelle

So what advice would you tell fellow foodservice directors in other rural areas.

00:29:31 Rikkilyn

Well, I would tell them to check out the Oregon Harvest for schools direct. One and to collaborate with other directors in certain circumstances like that because chances are like I have for I have a producer that is in the Portland area that qualifies for farm to school because it is actually processed here in Oregon and there is a really small rural town past me. About two hours. And they're not able to get deliveries. So I collaborate with that producer. She delivers that product for that other school. I hold it till that school can come and pick it up. Saves that producer having to go that extra two hours. And I have the space to hold it for that school so that they're able to put that farm to school product on their menu.

00:30:26 Rick

Well, thank you for stepping it up and.For your fellow Food service director I. That's really awesome.

00:30:34 Michelle

Well, and it sounds like you wear a lot of hats and you juggle a lot of things and do a lot of problem solving. I'm wondering what motivates you what keeps you going?

00:30:49 Rikkilyn

I think it's just really my personality. Honestly, I don't. I don't know.

00:30:52 Rick

I would second that.

00:30:57 Rikkilyn

I yeah, I just. I love what I do. I love to see the kids smile on their face. I love to see the collaboration with the farm farmers. I ran into a situation the other day that I really wanted to do local berries and like my delivery was a week away. And I was like I texted the farmer and I said, hey, all I need is 1 box of berries. Is there any way I can meet you somewhere to get it? He said. Hey, go, go help yourself.

I went and got the box of berries and was able to let the school board have that for their dinner that night and try the local produce. I mean, I went a little bit of a step, but he trusted that I, you know, he trusted me and I I he was fine with me going out to his cold storage. I sent him a picture of.

00:31:31 Rick

Oh yeah.

00:31:44 Rikkilyn

What I took?

00:31:45 Rick

Oh, I thought you went out and picked them yourself in this farm, OK?

00:31:47 Rikkilyn

No, no cold storage. I mean I would have done that too, but. But just having that relationship and having those relationships and the collaboration is really important to me.

00:32:01 Rick

OK, alright. I well, we'd like to thank you so much for coming here.

00:32:07 Michelle

Yeah. And we'd like to thank everyone listening for tuning in today and thank you, Ricky Lynn so much for the impactful work you do every day. You really help our children thrive and our farmers prosper. Thank you.


Thank you.

00:32:19 Rick

The farm to school podcast was written, directed and produced by Rick Sherman and Michelle Markestyn and was made possible by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.

00:32:28 Michelle

The content and ideas presented in this program do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Oregon State University, the Oregon Department of Education, or the United States Department of Agriculture, the USDA, Oregon Department of Education and Oregon State University are Equal Employment Opportunity employers.

00:32:43 Rick

You want to learn more about Farm to School? We'll check out other episodes and find show notes and much more at

00:32:54 Michelle

Do you have an idea for a future episode? Just send us an e-mail at [email protected].

00:33:01 Rick

Thanks, everybody. We'll see you next time.

00:33:03 Michelle

Bye. Thanks for calling.

00:33:04 Rikkilyn

Ricky. Bye. Thank you guys for having me. Bye.

Learn about farm-to-school in a remote “frontier-esque” community, a possessed greenhouse, and more with Rikkilynn Starliper from the Umatilla School District Nutrition Services.

Too often we hear it’s too hard to do a farm-to-school program where there are no farmers available or lack of a robust distribution network. See how one Nutrition Service Director in a small operation in the desert of Eastern Oregon rolled up her sleeves and changed that.


The Farm to School Podcast is produced by Rick Sherman, Farm to Child Nutrition Program Manager at the Oregon Department of Education and Michelle Markesteyn, Farm to School Specialist at Oregon State University Extension with production support from LeAnn Locher, OSU Extension. The show is made possible by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Want to connect? We’d love to hear from you!

Was this page helpful?

Related Content from OSU Extension

Have a question? Ask Extension!

Ask Extension is a way for you to get answers from the Oregon State University Extension Service. We have experts in family and health, community development, food and agriculture, coastal issues, forestry, programs for young people, and gardening.