October is National Farm to School Month! This month celebrates the connections between children and local foods and farms and highlights the schools, local farms, and communities that work together to serve fresh, locally grown ingredients in school cafeterias.
Farm to School benefits everyone –students, farmers, and communities! The farm to school movement has been celebrated all over the country, and more than 23 million students participate in farm to school activities year-round. Join in on the celebration this year as we shine a spotlight on Farm to School!
What can you do to celebrate this month?
- Encourage your school to plan nutrition-themed activities: Hands-on learning through gardening, crafts, taste tests, or farm visits can be a fun way to celebrate this month. For example, having a taste test of locally-grown produce such as turnips, pears, or different varieties of squash can introduce new foods and tastes to students. This gives students the opportunity to describe the size, color, smell, and texture of various produce. Be creative and interactive while learning about new and fresh produce!
- Share local farm trivia: California has a wealth of agriculture knowledge to share. Did you know that California grows nearly half of the nation’s fruits, vegetables, and nuts? Or that California has 25.3 million acres of farmland?
- Spread the word about Farm to School Month: Join in on the conversation, and share your Farm to School themed ideas, pictures, and activities on social media by using the hashtags #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool.
- Visit local farms, orchards, fruit stands, pumpkin patches, and farmers’ markets: Visiting farms and talking to farmers are great ways to educate kids on agriculture practices and more about how food is grown. Also, when buying seasonal produce from local farms, try asking farmers for their cooking suggestions and tips for produce that you have yet to try; their advice may surprise you!
- Eat seasonal produce this fall: Fall is plentiful with its seasonal produce selection. Try incorporating fall fruits and vegetables like, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, pears, apples, and cranberries into your cooking and baking this season.
What are the benefits of buying and eating local foods?
- Support your local farmers and build a community: By choosing local foods, you are making an investment in the economy of your community. It also allows you to make connections with your local growers, so you know where and how your food was grown.
- Help the environment: Buying local reduces the distance the food has to travel which may help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution. Strive for sustainability!
For more information and resources, visit the National Farm to School Network website.