October is national Farm to School month, when schools around the country celebrate local food sources. Farm to School programs connect schools with local farms to provide fresh, in season, organic produce for school meals. The programs include farm tours, food education, cooking classes, taste testing, school gardens, and composting. School lunches can be greatly improved with local organic farm fresh produce for the salad bar. Farm tours help kids understand where their food comes from, the environmental impact, and how good nutrition improves their health and ability to excel in academics. School gardens and cooking classes are also a part of the program, giving kids not only food, but exercise, science projects, and a connection to what is alive on the planet around us.
Farm to School programs are changing food purchasing and education at school and pre-schools in every U.S. state and territory. School staff, students, and parents get to know their local farmers and local economy improves, boosting economic opportunities for local family farmers. Kids in the program enjoy the fresh veggies, eat more veggies, and ask for more salads at home. Eating fresh foods, visits with farmers, and having food related education can turn kids into healthy eaters for a lifetime.