Dubuque schools celebrate Local Food Day with corn, cabbage and apples

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DUBUQUE COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) -- Schools across the state served locally grown food for lunch on Thursday as part of  Iowa Local Food Day. One local farmer said it's something he wished would happen year-round.

Lunches in the Dubuque Community School District include locally grown corn, apples and cabbage. (Allison Wong, KCRG-TV9)

Jim Decker bought South Mound Apple Orchard in Sherrill, Iowa in 2012. He said a good portion of his sales come from the Iowa Food Hub, a non-profit organization that distributes local food to school districts.

"There's a few local people that buy from us but the Food Hub is, or the school thing, is probably 50 percent of our business probably," Decker said.

His orchard produces about 15,000 pounds of apples, and 8,000 pounds he sells to the Iowa Food Hub.

He's thankful for their work in supplying fresh produce to kids while supporting local farms.

"The product and stuff is fresher because when we pick them, we only pick them a couple days before they take them there," Decker said. "So they’re fresh when they get them.”

At Kennedy Elementary School in Dubuque, the students enjoyed local corn, cabbage, and apples.

Dubuque Community School District Assistant Food Service Manager Jackie Ament said providing local foods to their students costs 33 percent more than normal lunches.

She said, "this would cost a little bit more just cause it is local food, but we like to see the community get involved with school lunches, and promote the local farmers, and so it’s definitely worth it for the kids.”

She said they'll have a variety of local produce available month long.

"Cabbage, we have peppers, we have cauliflower, watermelon, corn, apples. New this year we have Iowa sweet potatoes," Ament said.