(by Karen Campbell, Weakley County Schools Communications Director)
Healthy eating choices are on everyone’s mind as the new year begins, and with the help of several creative Weakley County students, keeping a daily record and making those choices will be easier.
The Harvest of the Month Calendar is a collaborative effort of the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network, Weakley Arts Can, and the Weakley County Schools Nutrition Department and Coordinated School Health. More than 80 entries illustrating those harvests were produced by students from across the county after the competition was launched in October, Farm-to-School month.
With a list of the Northwest Tennessee-grown and harvested fruits and vegetables that make up the Harvest of the Month emphasis, teachers introduced the possibilities and then students used colors, paints, and markers to illustrate their entries. A panel of judges from the collaborating entities selected the works that make up the inaugural spring edition of what organizers hope to be an annual project.
Winners were announced at the January Weakley County School Board meeting on Thursday evening where the six-month calendars and a six-pack of greeting cards were revealed to the public for the first time.
Calendar winners, their grades, teachers and schools are: cover art of strawberries, Allie Rogers, 6th grade, teacher Kelsey Reed, Martin Middle School; January, greens, David Wilson, 10th grade, teacher Angelique Killebrew, Westview High School; February, butternut squash, Joseph Zimmerman, kindergarten, teacher Becky Jackson, Martin Primary School; March, frozen fruit, Kinsley Smith, 2nd grade, teacher Sherry Hatchel, Dresden Elementary School; April, asparagus, Benji Snider, 5th grade, teacher Melody Hopper, Gleason School; May, strawberries, Abigail Owens, 2nd grade, teacher Sherry Hatchel, Dresden Elementary School; June, blueberries, Meagan Lovell, 2nd grade, teacher Danielle VanCleave, Sharon School.
The two winners whose art makes up the pack of six greeting cards are also from Killebrew’s 10th grade at Westview — Elle Ingram and Emily Baker.
“With over 80 entries from K-11th grade from Weakley County Schools, this was a very hard contest to judge because all of the entries were wonderfully creative,” said NWTLFN Executive Director Samantha Goyret who is also a member of arts-focused Weakley Arts Can. “We are thrilled about the high participation and look forward to growing this important program throughout our communities but especially with area youth.”
The teachers who had the highest participation rate were Killebrew, VanCleave, Hatchel and Martin Primary’s Zann Wortham.
The calendar, which covers the remainder of the school year from January – June 2020, was designed by NWTLFN graphic design intern and recent University of Tennessee at Martin graduate Devon Coble.
The cards and calendars will be for sale for $10 each with all proceeds supporting Farm-to-School endeavors through the NTWLFN, the nonprofit whose mission is to catalyze actions that are increasing access to locally grown and produced foods.
Since August, the Weakley County School Nutrition program has been posting Harvest of the Month featured posters in each cafeteria across Weakley County.
“This community-wide coordinated program’s goal is to encourage healthy food choices by increasing exposure to seasonal foods,” said Snider, who helped oversee the school cafeteria promotion. “We are encouraged that so many students participated this year and anticipate even greater participation when we launch the competition for next year’s school year calendar.”
More information about the Harvest of the Month program, recipes, and informational posters can be found at https://nwtnlfn.org/programs/harvest-of-the-month/. To order calendars or cards, visit https://nwtnlfn.org/hotm-calendar/.
(photo: (from left to right) Trista Snider, Samantha Goyret, Emily Baker, David Watson, Angelique Killebrew, Tracey Bell (representing Joseph Zimmerman, Jon Gardner, Allie Rogers, Melanie Needham (representing Kinsley Smith), Benji Snider, Megan Lovell, Danielle VanCleave.)