DOVER, Pa. (WHTM) – Dover Area School District held it’s first Pennsylvania Preferred Day, bringing in food from local farms to serve up for lunch.
“These are the most beautiful apples that we have served in the cafeteria and its because they were just picked this week from the local orchard,” food service director Helen Heidler said.
Everything served came from York County, while Dover’s future farmers helped deliver some of the homegrown products.
“I am part of the next generation that could be helping the community, saving the farms, and helping the agriculture,” said Dakota Hockensmith, a high school junior and member of Future Farmers of America.
Regardless of how young the students are, they are acutely aware that Pennsylvania farms are deep in a financial crisis.
“The average farmer right now is about 55, so that means within the next 10 years, we are going to see 75% of Pennsylvania farmers retire,” Dover FFA adviser Britney Marsh said.
The district hopes to serve local foods year-round, purchasing bulk orders from local farmers. However, there are still roadblocks in doing so.
“For me to try to purchase from them, they would have to grow so much at a certain time and then on an ongoing basis. It’s very difficult to make that happen,” Heidler said.
Even with the upcoming challenges that are handed to the next generation of farmers, this current meal is to meant to be a foundation.
“We got to have young education passionate people step into those roles and take over farm management,” Marsh said.