October is National Farm to School Month

10/7/2014

Image courtesy of farmtoschool.org. (view larger image)

Image courtesy of farmtoschool.org.

October is National Farm to School Month

October is National Farm to School month! National Farm to School month was advocated for by the National Farm to School Network and was officially designated by Congress in 2010. Through coordinating a national “farm to school month” event, the network hopes to highlight the importance of programs that aim to improve child nutrition, support local and regional farmers, bolster the economy, and engage and educate youth about their food.

Farm to school is growing nationally and statewide in Michigan. The Farm to School census survey in 2012 reports that in 2012, approximately 40,328 schools around the country are part of the farm to school movement. The same survey data shows that Michigan had 1159 schools that bringing farm to school. The number of students in those schools amounts to over 23.5 million. In February 2013, MSU Center for Regional Food System (CRFS) researchers conducted a survey of all school food service directors in Michigan. The responses showed that more food service directors (68% of respondents) are buying local foods, up from 54% of respondents the previous year.

Alongside National Farm to School Month, October 15th is national Farm to Preschool day. Farm to Preschool promotes eating healthy fresh and local foods at preschools and early childcare centers. Some activities include gardening, nutrition education, and working with farmers and food distributors to buy local foods for programs that serve children ages 0-6. 

There are many ways for people to become involved in National Farm to School month – whether they are a farmer, educator, parent, or supportive community member. The National Farm to School Network has a host of resources for those interested in participating in the event, from activities to incorporate into classroom curriculum to ways that school cafeterias can highlight local produce.

In Michigan, Cherry Capital Foods distributor is coordinating a “Michigan’s Apple Crunch” event which is taking place on October 24th. The event tries to get as many people as possible biting into an apple on Food Day.

Kelly Lively, Cherry Capital Foods School Liaison, says of the event, “We are excited to host Michigan’s Apple Crunch again this year. It looks like we will top last year’s attendance of 74,000 participants. There is still time to register and participate by going to our website. This is a great way to celebrate Michigan Agriculture and whole, nutritious food - we hope all will join the fun.” 

For more information about Michigan Farm to School, including Step-By-Step Guides and resources, visit the Michigan Farm to School website at www.mifarmtoschool.msu.edu.