FFA Officers, Sarah Shrewsbury, Emma Tickle, and Halee Scott work together to plan our travel schedule to deliver beef to all Pulaski County Schools. 

By FFA Officers Emma Tickle and Halee Scott


On January 27, 2023, Pulaski County High School’s FFA President, Halee Scott, and Secretary, Emma Tickle, interviewed Mrs. Ethelene Sadler, the Director of School Nutrition for Pulaski County Public Schools. Mrs. Sadler explained her program that she has put into motion regarding the “Farm-to-School'' operation.


Farm-to-School is an operation where local beef farms supply beef to the schools in the county. The farms participating in this program are Mountain View Farms of Dublin, Kegley Farms of Pulaski, and Pratt Farms of Draper.


It's been a long-time desire of Ms. Sadler’s to implement more Farm-To-School programs in our school district. The opportunity to provide locally sourced beef in our schools became more of a possibility when State Supply Chain funding became available through the Biden administration after the effects of Covid-19.


Depending on the enrollment in your schools, certain amounts of funds were allocated, and in return, schools in Pulaski County have been able to decide how to use them. One stipulation was that these funds had to be used for very minimally processed foods. Therefore, Ms. Sadler chose to advocate for locally sourced beef to be served to students in our schools’ cafeterias.


Serving locally sourced beef in our schools not only gives students a healthier option, it also helps put money back into the community that does so much for our schools already.


“The Farm-to-School project is not just a one-time thing,” Mrs. Sadler said. “This is something that we hope continues to go forward with and grow. We anticipate there to be three to four deliveries of beef to each school every year.”


The Farm-to-School program has also given our high school agriculture department many opportunities to get involved, not only by serving the community and volunteering their time to assist with deliveries at schools throughout the county, but also by bringing in the idea for students in the Agriculture Production Technology course at PCHS to take the Beef Quality Assurance program exam. This exam is one of many offered in CTE programs to fulfill the requirement of an industry credential that is needed for graduation.


BQA is a nationally recognized program that raises consumer confidence through offering proper management techniques and a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef industry. Offering this credential to our students will help them better understand the importance of locally sourced beef, and how proper management techniques can impact the quality of those products. 


Giles County and Pulaski County are currently the only places in Southwest Virginia that are offering Farm-to-School. Ethelene Sadler and Darren Culip of Mountain View Farms will be attending a conference in February to promote the program, and encourage other counties to join us in serving locally sourced beef to our schools.


As of now, the first delivery to schools is set for Friday, February 10, with the hopes that the meat will be served shortly after. 

Editor’s Note:

In the Fall of 2022, our FFA Chapter was approached about partnering with PCPS School Nutrition and local beef producers to work on the Farm-to-School project. I was skeptical at first, but this project has proven to be an excellent way to get our students involved in yet another aspect of serving our community. Our chapter president and secretary were given the opportunity to speak with Ms. Sadler, the director of PCPS School Nutrition, not only to learn about the project itself, but also hear about the hard work and commitment she has put into developing this program in Pulaski County. They also get the opportunity to assist with delivery to all of our schools. This will give them a chance to interact with the producers that are providing the beef and hear more about their operations and what it takes to grow healthy and reputable livestock in Pulaski County. Many of our students will be able to use this opportunity to count hours towards their Supervised Agricultural Experience projects that they complete each year through Virginia FFA Association and the National FFA Association. We’re excited to play a small part in this program and see the opportunities that it will provide for our students.