The Farm to School Program is a national program whose primary purpose is to get local farm produce into local schools. In Virginia, the program is statewide and supports the use of fresh Virginia grown products in school cafeterias and promotes opportunities for schools and local farmers to work together.
Virginia’s Farm to School Week 2013 is November 11-15. However, in Shenandoah County Public Schools, students have enjoyed local produce and local meats since the beginning of the school year.
“I have incorporated local products this entire school year,” reports Beverly Polk, School Food Services Supervisor for Shenandoah County Public Schools. This week, Shenandoah County students have enjoyed local apples as a fruit choice. Since the beginning of school, Shenandoah County Food Service has purchased 210 bushels of apples with another 70 bushels ordered for this week. Food Service has also purchased 1,300 pounds of local beef with another 1,300 pounds ordered. And, for breakfast, students have consumed 165 pounds of local sausage with another 60 pounds arriving this week.
According to Virginia’s Farm to School web site (http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/marketing/farm.shtml), “Virginia schools currently spend more than $6 million annually on fresh produce. The Farm to School Program in Virginia will open the door for more of those dollars to stay within the state and support Virginia Farmers by promoting opportunities for schools, distributors, and growers to work together.”