The first week of school in Greenbrier County was sweetened by corn provided by Jennifer and Kent Gilkerson of Sunset Berry Farm and Produce. A total of 4,400 ears of corn was provided to students at all elementary, middle and high schools in the county. “The kids absolutely love it,” said Principal Bowling. “We look forward to getting more local produce in our lunches at Alderson Elementary School this year.”
Sunset Berry Farm is well-known around Alderson for having delicious sweet corn, and are popular for their strawberries, pumpkins, and other produce at different times during the growing season. The Gilkersons have also donated extra produce to local institutions, such as the Alderson Hospitality House.
Principal Barbara Bowling, Child Nutrition Director Jenny Curry, Kevin Johnson of the Alderson Community Food Hub and Jennifer Gilkerson of Sunset Berry Farm and Produce were present when the sweet corn was served to the students, and were joined by reporters from WVVA and Fox 59. The WV Board of Education has launched a statewide effort to bring local food into public schools, with benefits for the local farm economy and student nutrition. Local efforts are gathering steam, but much more local, ready-to-eat produce is needed to meet the demand.
Jennifer and Kent Gilkerson are producer members of the Alderson Community Food Hub, based in Wolf Creek Gallery in Alderson, and set up at the Alderson Community Market every Saturday. Producers interested in getting involved in producing for local outlets are encouraged to get in touch with the Food Hub by emailing or calling 304-445-3040.