Farm to table at Hermosa elementary school

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Buying fresh local food doesn't only benefit the local economy; it also provides nutritional value for our community. And the Custer School District is rolling out a new program to help make that happen.

Students at Hermosa Elementary School are enjoying fresh meat and produce thanks to local ranchers. (KOTA)

Students at Hermosa Elementary and Middle School can now enjoy fresh, locally grown food for lunch.

"Our local school. Our neighbors. Kids are getting good protein, good nutrition, and knowing where their food is coming from. And having real, local beef in their lunch meals," says one local rancher, Tif Robertson.

The local program allows the Custer School District to partner with the community to provide students with nutritious meals, along with an education on where their food comes from.

"Less processed the food is, the better it is for them. When they're getting the good nutrition that helps with their brains," says the food service director for the Custer School district, Tammie Adam.

And for one student, she believes that eating fresh food is a routine worth sticking with.

"If you eat a lot of junk food, then you can get really sick and maybe die. Or your teeth could get very rotten," says one student, Zayleigh Kinscle.

Nutrition isn't the only benefit the students can glean from the program; it also helps students understand the importance of agriculture and how it could impact their future.

"Not only today in their meal, but the future of growth of agriculture for all of us and the next generation," says Robertson.

To keep that education going, local beef will be donated throughout the rest of the school year.

The school district, along with the community, says they're looking forward to watching the program grow.