In celebration of October as National Farm to School Month, we’re celebrating the relationships that schools across the country are forging with local farms. In 2010 Congress approved a resolution to designate a National Farm to School Month, demonstrating the importance of using school meal programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies, and educate children about the origins of the food they eat.
With surveys showing that farm to school programs can increase school lunch participation 3 to 16 percent, you may already be providing your students with learning opportunities presented through farm visits, gardening activities, and recycling programs.
Traverse City Area Public Schools Food and Nutrition Director, Tom Freitas reminds that getting students to eat healthy isn’t just about what they eat at school – it’s also about getting the parents and teachers involved in a health eating lifestyle. His district works with FoodCorps, a company who integrates a farm to school curriculum into schools, “[They] had open houses recently for the gardens at each of the schools to introduce the parents to the gardens. The staff at all of our FoodCorps buildings have completely embraced FoodCorps in their classrooms. All of our buildings encourage us to continue to grow our local programs.”
At Gordon Food Service, we know that you already expend a significant amount of energy and focus promoting healthy eating and wellness, and dealing with state and federal regulations, reimbursable meal programs, and competitive food choices can make it complicated – but we want to make it easier for you, and your students.
We purchase all of our fresh produce from vendors or through the Markon cooperative, helping to ensure that we receive produce within a few days, or even hours, of harvest. Multiple truckloads of produce are en route to our distribution centers daily, enabling us to focus our attention on getting product out of our facilities and into your kitchens.
Another option is to integrate our NearBuy program into your purchasing routine. This program provides customers with the opportunity to better understand the origin of products, to determine what buying local means to them, and to purchase accordingly. Our commitment to food safety, quality, and availability takes precedence, so not every product we offer may be locally sourced.
Using the tools provided online by National Farm to School Month, you can promote your schools’ farm to school program with fact sheets, PowerPoint slide shows, posters, and more – and even use a sample menu to get inspired.