To help create excitement around school meals that include milk and dairy, Sarah Colby of Colby Homestead Farm, Spencerport, N.Y., hosted a live farm tour for more than 100 school nutrition professionals from Monroe County, N.Y. The tour was part of New York Thursdays, the statewide program to educate students about locally sourced foods like milk and dairy.

Colby helped make the connection about how on-farm practices translate to the safe, wholesome milk the students drink at school, supplied by her cooperative Upstate Niagara Cooperative.

Viewers asked Colby questions in real time, including about the farm’s robot milkers and conventional milking parlor; cows’ lifespans; the robotic manure scraper; and what’s included in cows’ and calves’ diets, among others.

“School nutrition professionals work so hard to keep our children nourished and fueled for success,” said dairy farmer Sarah Colby.  “The virtual farm tour was a great opportunity to show them that the local milk and dairy products they’re serving to students every day come from a good place.”

“I know the enormous effort it takes to put milk and other dairy products on our tables and in our lunch bags,” said Monroe County School Nutrition Association president and school nutrition director Nicole VanDerMeid. “New York Thursdays gives us the perfect opportunity to share with students, parents and school staff all the local farmers we support, and it’s important to know where their food comes from and the people producing it.”