Delaware Today magazine 302 First: Doing Good with restaurateur Dan Butler and the Delaware Farm to School Collaborative
Dan Butler (right) and Piccolino Toscana chef Robbie Jester put their heads together at the Coverdale Farm Preserve.
Photograph by Jared Castaldi
A Growing Trend
Dan Butler’s endorsement of the farm-to-table movement has been well documented. Now the energetic chef-restaurateur is helping to cook up a similar scenario involving Delaware schoolchildren and farmers.
It’s called the Delaware Farm to School Collaborative.
“We are working to connect Delaware farmers with the school districts,” Butler says. “The idea is that school kids can get real live, farm-fresh food and a better understanding and appreciation for the benefits of real live food.”
The nonprofit partnership includes parents, educators, school administrators, farmers and business owners. The collaborative, created to support a government initiative involving the state departments of Agriculture, Education and Health and Human Services, has established a pilot program this year, and is working on a strategic plan and implementation schedule.
“It’s a public-private partnership,” says collaborative executive director Theresa Pileggi. “We’re taking a strong business model and applying it to a social problem.”
She says Butler’s expertise will be used to address challenges like the distribution, safety and handling of food.
“We’re moving away from the traditional process to fresher offerings,” says Pileggi, adding that volunteers are needed in all areas. “We hope to be fully operational in three to five years. We’ve committed to having a plan. We want to ride the momentum. It’s a unifying project in our community.” —Drew Ostroski