Schools across our coun­try should use lo­cal farm-fresh foods

Cherokee County Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By Elisha Smith

many school aged chil­dren do not know where their food comes from. In fact nei­ther do many adults. Ac­cord­ing to a survey com­mis­sioned by the U.S Farm­ers and Ranch­ers Al­liance, 72% of con­sumers know noth­ing or very lit­tle about farming or ranch­ing.

But Farm to School Pro­grams are try­ing to change that. Thirty mil­lion kids eat school lunch ev­ery day. More than 42,000 schools par­tic­i­pate na­tion­wide in Farm to School ini­tia­tives reach­ing an es­ti­mated 23.6 mil­lion chil­dren.

Oc­to­ber is Na­tional Farm to School Month, a time to rec­og­nize the im­por­tance of farm to school as a means to im­prove child nutri­tion, sup­port lo­cal economies, and ed­u­cate com­mu­ni­ties about the ori­gins of their food.

“Farm to School” refers to schools serv­ing lo­cal, farm-fresh foods rang­ing from fruits and veg­etable to honey and meat. These pro­grams en­rich the con­nec­tion com­mu­ni­ties have with fresh, healthy food and lo­cal food pro­duc­ers by chang­ing food pur­chas­ing and ed­u­ca­tion prac­tices at schools. Stu­dents gain ac­cess to healthy, lo­cal foods as well as ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties such as school gar­dens, cook­ing lessons and farm field trips.

The 2016 Na­tional Farm to School Month theme, One Small Step, high­lights sim­ple ways any­one can get in­formed, get in­volved and take ac­tion to ad­vance farm to school in their own com­mu­ni­ties and across the coun­try. Learn more at farm­

More­over, the Cen­ter for Ru­ral Af­fairs has many farm to school re­sources in­clud­ing a Farm to School Month Starter Kit (http://www.

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