Citrus Wins Over Candy and Clowns!

In our public schools, where we are trying to promote a culture of health among young people, why in the world are we promoting candy sales and “clown food” through our school fundraisers? A more important question, though, was posed to Sustainable Food Center a few months ago by Alejandra Mireles who teaches 5th grade at Ortega Elementary School. “What can we do about it?” In true “asset-based” problem solving style, SFC staff considered the various resources at our disposal alongside the goals of the school, and presented this response: let’s sell fruit!

Not just any fruit, of course, this fundraising sale would focus on locally grown, certified organic citrus. One call to Dave Strohmeyer at G & S Groves in McAllen and he was on board, and even brought a bit of knowledge of school citrus sales to the table. He provided guidance on pricing, timeline, and sales strategy based on experience with other schools – primarily private schools in northern states. Alejandra was diligent in her efforts, encouraging support from the school administration and faculty, designing administrative processes and promotional materials.

In just a few weeks, the sale took place, and concluded with over 220 bags sold by students and staff, raising $1,000 for the school to support their field trips. This tops the school’s income from McTeacher Night and from candy sales! Participating students received an SFC water bottle, while the top five sellers will get an SFC T-shirt. Appropriate for a field trip fundraiser – the top two sellers from every class will get a (free) tour and field trip to SFC garden and kitchen as a reward for their work.

As a reward for SFC’s work, we supported a community-driven effort that accomplishes our mission of healthy community, strong local food system, and improved access to nutritious food. And, beyond that, we were able to work alongside energetic, committed partners like Ms. Mireles and Farmer Dave to test a healthy fundraiser that now can be refined and replicated in even more schools.

Look for info on Citrus Sale Fundraisers in the coming year!