Celebrate Farm to School Month

October is National Farm to School Month; learn about the impact this program has had in communities in Michigan and across the nation.

October is National Farm to School Month – a time to celebrate the partnerships that are happening all over the country between schools and local food. In 2010, the United States House of Representatives declared October National Farm to School Month, recognizing the strong role Farm to School programs play in promoting good health and strong economies.

Farm to School is defined as any program that connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers. Because this is a grassroots movement, Farm to School programs look different in every community.

Schools don’t have to purchase all of the fresh food they serve from the local farmer, but 20 percent of their food purchased locally could have a huge effect on the local farm economy. Because Michigan produces a diverse food supply, schools have an opportunity to purchase, prepare and feed school students with healthy, fresh, local food.

Described as “a win-win situation” for farmers, children, communities, the economy and the environment, Farm to School programs have other economic benefits, as well: when a school or individual buys direct from local farmers, 80-90 percent of each dollar goes straight into the farmers’ pocket, meaning more money stays in the community.

Over the past decade, the Farm to School movement has grown across the United States. According to National Farm to School Network (NFSN) estimates, 5.7 million students in 12,429 schools benefited from Farm to School during the 2011-2012 school year and close to $13 million was spent on local products in schools.

To help connect schools with local farmers or for more information about Farm to School in Michigan or Farm to School Month, contact Katherine Hale at 586-469-6088.

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