Moving Stories: Videos from the American South

Collards in the Cafeteria


Crew & Credits

Film by Vittles
Produced for the NC 10% Campaign

Run Time: 6:00


By now, everyone knows about “farm to table” — the idea of supplying restaurants and home kitchens, to the greatest extent possible, with foods produced locally. But more recently, the phrase “farm to school” is coming into the lexicon, as school lunch programs attempt to feed students more nutritious, fresher meals and help local farmers in the process. Today, The Bitter Southerner is proud, with the help of Vittles Films, to bring you one such story — in only six minutes.

Nestled in the agricultural heart of North Carolina, Gaston County schools are attempting to buy 10 percent of the produce they feed to students from local farmers. Of course, the kids love it when the local strawberries or watermelons appear on their plates. But collard greens? “Collards in the Cafeteria” follows the journey of this nutrient-rich leafy green (one of our seven essential Southern dishes, by the way) from the fields to the county's Central Kitchen, where they are cooked and processed in a Willy Wonka fashion for cafeteria service the following day. Frank Fields, the county's director of school nutrition, shares the secret of the final step: getting students to try and, perhaps, even love this classic Southern dish.