By SAM HOUSEHOLDER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
MIDDLEBURY — Seed to Feed, the Elkhart County program dedicated to growing local produce for donation to area food banks has begun its fall harvest.
On Wednesday, 128 students from St. Thomas Apostle School in Elkhart made a field trip to a farm on Ind. 13 south of Middlebury where a farmer who wished to remain anonymous planted two and a half acres of potatoes for the program and helped harvest the crop.
According to Seed to Feed co-coordinator Katie Jantzen, the students may have harvested close to 30,000 pounds in the morning.
Jantzen said that last year the field yielded around 19,000 pounds of potatoes and she estimated they could total as many as 60,000 pounds this year.
Jantzen said last year’s drought played a role in the smaller yield in 2012.
“It’s been so much better (this year),” she said on Wednesday. “We had two gardens last year and including the potatoes, all the produce we got was about 26,000 pounds.
“We’re already — without the potatoes — at 31,000 to 32,000 pounds, so add this and it’s going to be incredible.”
Beth Camp, a middle school teacher at St. Thomas said the school was involved last year with their sixth and seventh grades but included the entire middle school in harvesting this year.
“(We wanted to) just take a day to come out and make a difference,” she said.
According to Camp the students really understand the purpose of the program.
“It’s connecting with them,” she said, “and helping them see that there is a need and that we can make a difference.”