Connecting Farms to Schools

IMG_0264This post was written by contributing writer Andrea Northup.

Imagine the following scenario:

Jenny is one of many schoolchildren in DC who receives free or subsidized meals at school every day.  One day, she finds a fresh, juicy slice of watermelon grown on a farm in Maryland on her cafeteria tray.  She meets the farmer who grew the fruit and learns about how the watermelon started as a seed, grew, and made it to her tray.  Jenny and her classmates participate in a cooking demonstration with a local chef using fresh, seasonal ingredients.

This scenario will be a reality during Local Flavor Week (September 21-25), when schools in DC will serve locally grown produce and offer educational opportunities for students, including produce tastings, cooking demonstrations, and farmer visits.

The event kicks off efforts to bring Farm to School programs to DC. The goal is to link schools with local farms in order to serve healthy meals in school cafeterias, improve student nutrition, provide health and nutrition education opportunities that will last a lifetime, and support local small farmers.

With the start of the school year, school lunch is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Farm to School programs are popping up across the country. It’s time for DC — with the White House Garden in our midst, and farms in the surrounding region looking for stable markets – to become a leader in the Farm to School movement.

IMG_0421Local Flavor Week is organized by the DC Farm to School Network in partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank, the National Farm to School Network, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Whole Foods, and other community partners.

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