Celebrating National Farm to School month!
by Wendy Jeffries, TasteWise Kids Executive Director
October is National Farm to School month! We of course work every day on educating students and their families about the important connection between farms and the food we eat but it is great to have a national month that sheds light on the importance of connecting our students and schools to healthy, local ingredients grown by local farmers.
Want to do something to help celebrate National Farm to School month? Here are a few easy and fun ways for adults and kids to get in on the celebration.
- Visit a farmers’ market this month and talk to a farmer. Ask them about their favorite vegetable or how they like to cook a food they are selling you have never tried before. Here’s a quick list of Maryland farmers markets
- Draw a picture of your favorite local vegetables or fruit or color in a vegetable coloring sheets
- Come volunteer with us during our Fall Days of Taste program. Email Brittany at firstname.lastname@example.org for dates and more information.
- Find and cook a new fall dish. Share the what you create with us by posting it on our Facebook page or Instagram. Use the hashtag #TasteWiseKids or #MyTasteWiseCreation so we see it!
If you are looking for more ideas, here’s a cool fact sheet with some more simple ways to show your support of National Farm to School month.
Given it’s all about how food connects from our farms to local students this month, we thought it would be fun to talk to one of our great partners, Cynthia Shea who is the Manager of Farm to School Programming at Baltimore City Public Schools, Food and Nutrition Department.
Here’s what we learned.
What is something fun that Baltimore City Schools does to help connect our local farms/fresh foods to our public school students?
We require our produce vendor to source local, within 200 sq. miles, whenever possible. That means all 100% of peaches, nectarines, apples and pears are grown on local farms.
Each City School has a Farm to School coordinator to increase Farm to School programming, support existing programming and facilitate links between urban farms and neighborhood schools for after school programming, work study hours and summer jobs.
This summer we had 9 Youth workers at Great Kids Farm learning farming, planting and animal husbandry. They also left the farm with completed resumes and interviewing skills.
And the most FUN thing is that students who visit the Great Kids Farm are asked to do 3 school based follow up activities. If they are all completed the class get to name a chick!
In your opinion, why is it important to know about/be connected to our local food sources/farms?
For students it can be as simple as product identification. If they can’t name the vegetable on their school lunch line they are far less likely to try it!
What is your favorite fall vegetable or dish to prepare?
Soup, soup, and MORE SOUP!