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Aw, shucks!

Solon schools lunchrooms to serve local farm food
Kelly Crossley poses with 900 ears of Rebal’s sweet corn, freshly shucked by 32 parent and student volunteers at a corn-shucking party Sunday, Aug. 25, at Solon High School. (photo by Eric Hawkinson)

SOLON– Corn means something more to us here in Iowa, and nothing shows it off better than events like the corn-shucking party at Solon High School Aug. 25.
The party, which ended when the work was done, was expected to take place from 2 until 5 p.m. Surprisingly, though, it finished an hour and a half after the fun started. The corn was served to students during the first week of school during lunch.
“It was great to see everybody working together,” Laurie Broghammer said as she cleaned up the last bits of corn from the cafeteria kitchen.
There were 32 volunteers, and 19 of them were Solon students ranging from elementary through high school. By the end, groups of students exited the front doors of Solon High School cradling human-sized garbage bags full of cornhusks– they had shucked and cleaned upwards of 900 ears of locally grown corn.
That seems like a lot of work for the first week of school lunches, but it hasn’t always been that way. Nutrition director Kelly Crossley said this is the first time Solon has been part of the Iowa Department of Agriculture Farm-to-School program, which aims to bring healthy, locally farmed foods into the school lunchrooms.
The work pays, too. Crossley said that as a Farm-to-School chapter, Solon was given $4,000 dollars.
“As long as we serve it to kids in school lunches, we get the money,” Crossley said.
Crossley, who is also Solon’s Farm-to-School coordinator, said beginning this year, Solon’s school lunch program will be purchasing locally grown corn, tomatoes, green peppers and apples to serve throughout the year.
This will support local farms such as Rebal’s Sweet Corn, which supplied the 900 ears of corn for Solon’s first corn-shucking party.
“It just made sense,” Crossley said.