In November 2010, Congress approved a resolution introduced by Representative Rush Holt (NJ) to officially designate October as National Farm to School Month. The passage of House Resolution 1655 demonstrates the growing importance and role of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies and educate children about the origins of food.
Over the past decade, the farm to school movement has exploded across the United States, reaching millions of students in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. From school gardens and farm field trips to local food on cafeteria trays, farm to school practices help children connect with their food and make healthier choices while also creating new markets for local and regional farmers.
Here at The Learning Center! our commitment to our Farm To School program is expressed in many ways. Our school nutrition program participates in the North Carolina Farm2School fruit and vegetable program which allows us to purchase and serve produce grown in our own state. Many of our meats are purchased from right here in Cherokee County. Our “Small Bites” nutrition education program teaches students the fundamentals of nutrition and encourages them to try new foods. Farm field trips and school gardening projects are integrated into the curriculum as well, giving our students first hand experiences with growing food.
“By instilling healthy eating habits early in life, we’re preventing a health crisis and saving on healthcare spending along the way,” says Anupama Joshi, executive director of the National Farm to School Network (NFSN). “There are other economic benefits as well. Buying direct from local farmers keeps 80-90 percent of each dollar in the farmers’ pocket, meaning more money stays in your community.”