Farm to School is working on helping schools learn about the changes they can make in their cafeterias to create healthy alternatives. They help bring together farmers and school districts so students can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. Children are taught about why it’s important to make smart food choices and encourages them to always try new things. One student who was brave enough to try the Brussels sprouts offered one week was amazed at how much he enjoyed them and then encouraged the students around him to try some too.
The San Fransico Chronicle published an article last week that really underlines the problems with the state of our schools’ cafeterias. It highlights the testimony of Chef Anthony Geraci before a congressional panel Thursday. He recounts his experiences as a school chef and why we need to change how we feed children at school and why we need school gardens.
The Department of Ag has a great program called the Farm to School program. If you are in a place to help your school offer more local, fresh products, please contact Kris Kirby at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the official Web site… www.okfarmtoschool.com.
I went to three break out sessions surrounding Farm to School networking and brainstorming and idea generating, the economic reasons for Farm to School with Ken Meter (hopefully coming to Montana soon to help us out!), how to start a Farm to School project and successes and failures. I also went to the CFSC food policy council meeting while Bruce and Dena and Kyra went on farm tours the first day.
The Healthy Kids Fair is part of an ongoing Obama campaign to encourage kids, parents, and families to make changes in their behavior that will improve overall health. It was a way of continuing the national conversation about children’s health and nutrition issues that Mrs. Obama started last spring, when she first planted the White House Kitchen Garden.
So moms, dads, teachers and students like me, take some time to bring fresh, local produce into your school and support a local farmer. You and your kids, and your local farmers too, will reap the benefits.
A majority of the produce comes from a 15 mile radius around the school but they also buy from other places in Mass. The effort has increased over the last five years. This year alone, UMass will inject $300,000 into the local economy.
She also fielded online questions that covered farm to school programs, farm to restaurant programs, and beginning farmer programs, among others. (Above: Dep. Sec. Merrigan on a recent visit to Tree and Leaf Farm in Virginia, owned by small farm rockstars Zach Lester and Georgia O’Neal) Some highlights from the Facebook chat, and thoughts on policy:
“Farm to School Programs As a parent, what if someone told you that there was a cost-effective way to put delicious, nutritious , local food on your child’s school lunch table? As a tax payer, what if someone told you about a program that would help small local farmers and school budgets and would also lower your tax bill? Luckily, there is such a program proposed by the National Farm to School Network, and one day, hopefully, school children, farmers, and taxpayers alike will benefit from the push for local food in schools.”—How Farm to School Programs Curb Childhood Obesity & Help Family Farmers