November 30, 2013 in Washington Voices

Community garden wheat ground into flour for EV schools

By The Spokesman-Review
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

East Valley School District Superintendent John Glenewinkel, right, helps Summer Romney and Liam Nowles unload 400 pounds of flour at the district’s warehouse on Tuesday. Wheat from the East Valley Community Garden was ground into flour for use in school lunches.
(Full-size photo)

In August, about 1 acre of wheat was harvested from the East Valley Farm and Community Garden. On Tuesday, that wheat came back to the district in the form of 400 pounds of low-gluten flour to be used in the school kitchens.

“It makes their baking products really wonderful,” said Lynette Romney, the farm coordinator.

The project was done with the help of Shepherd’s Grain, a local farmer co-op, which took the 800 or 900 pounds of grain that came from that acre and ground it into flour. Each of the seven district kitchens will get a 50-pound bag.

Superintendent John Glenewinkel said the flour won’t save the district a lot of money, but the project isn’t so much about that.

“It’s about the connection to kids, where the food they eat comes from,” he said.

Romney said the district has kernels of grain stored from the first season of the garden four seasons ago, but this is the first time she has been able to turn grain into flour. Last year’s crop wasn’t good enough for processing.

“This year it was great,” she said.

Nutrition services director Jennifer Witting said the kitchens are now making some meals from scratch and are hoping to move completely to scratch in the coming years. The garden helps them with that.

“The kitchens love to get the vegetables,” Witting said.

She said when the flour is used in a school lunch it will be noted on the menu.

“I know it will go fast,” she said.

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