This week, Gov. Pete Ricketts proclaimed October as Nebraska Farm to School Month in recognition of the growing importance and role of Farm to School programs in the state as a means to improve child nutrition, support local farming and ranching economies, spur job growth and educate children about agriculture and the origins of their food.
“We applaud Gov. Ricketts for proclaiming October Farm to School Month in Nebraska,” said Sarah Smith with the Center for Rural Affairs. “His support, and the support from state agencies like the Nebraska Department of Education, is vital to ensuring the continued success of Farm to School programs across Nebraska.”
According to Smith, Farm to School programs enrich the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools. Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as educational opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. Farm to School empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities.
“Farm to School programs in Nebraska are a win-win. They provide our kids with fresh, healthy food and benefit our Nebraska farmers and small towns as well,” added Smith. “These programs are widely recognized as boosting school lunch participation and the local economy, as well as assisting schools in meeting school lunch nutrition requirements.”
The Center for Rural Affairs, a long-time leader for Farm to School activities in Nebraska and across the country, initiated the request for the October Farm to School Month proclamation and will be joined by stakeholder representatives including school administrators, school food service representatives, farmers and farm organizations, and the Nebraska Department of Education Nutrition Services.
The Center will host myriad Farm to School activities throughout October, including the Midwest Great Apple Crunch. Participants of all ages are invited to join others around the Midwest in eating apples at exactly noon on Thursday, Oct. 13, from the comfort of their own homes and schools. Find out more and sign up to participate at http://www.cfra.org/f2smonth
. Participants can post their Crunch or follow along on social media using #F2SMonth, #F2SMidwest or #MidwestAppleCrunch.