This year for the first time in his farming career, Donald Sherman made a sale to a school district. Mr. Sherman has been interested in providing fresh produce to local schools in Fresno where he resides and also farms for years, but he has had to wait over 30 years to finally be able to say he has done it. This accomplishment was not achieved in a vacuum or by accident as Mr. Sherman himself and several other collaborators worked together to make this possible. Mr. Sherman’s farm business, the Sherman Produce Market, is one of several that have benefitted from a Cal Fresh Healthy Living grant from Merced County’s Department of Public Health (MCDPH) in 2022.
MCDPH partnered with the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) to provide marketing and sales support to local farmers in the Central Valley to allow them to secure business opportunities with Merced County’s schools. Not stopping there, MCDPH and CAFF collaborated with Livingston Unified School District (LUSD) to host several local harvest events at 4 schools in late August and early September including Selma Herndon Elementary School, Campus Park Elementary School, Yamato Colony Elementary School, and Livingston Middle School. In August, Campus Park and Yamato Colony hosted back-to-school nights with cooling infused water and fruit cups including Mr. Sherman’s red seedless watermelon as well as cucumbers from Siembra y Cosecha Farm. These cold, refreshing, and tasty beverages were very much appreciated by the students and their families as they endured record-setting high temperatures that very week. Miguel Avendaño Reyes, owner of Siembra y Cosecha Farm was in attendance at these events and many students and their families were visibly excited to meet a farmer who helped keep them cool that day.