This October marks 5 years of celebrating National Farm to School Month, highlighting a vibrant and growing farm to school movement across the nation. As part of this growing trend, in July of 2015 Perry County Schools was selected to participate in Seed Change, an initiative of the National Farm to School Network aimed at expanding farm to school activities at the state and community level to support better health outcomes for children and strong local economies.
As part of Seed Change and as leaders in farm to school programming in the state, Perry County Schools has been designated one of two Farm to School Demonstration Sites in Kentucky. Through generous support from the Walmart Foundation, the National Farm to School Network and local partner organization Kentucky Department of Agriculture selected these sites to host farm to school tours and trainings for twenty school recipients of a Seed Change Mini Grant – a program jumpstarting and expanding farm to school activities at the community level across the state. The 18-month grant period extends through the school year 2015-16, with evaluation results to be released in fall of 2016.
“By investing in Farm to School today, not only will the next generation be healthier, but they will also be more informed consumers who value farmers and support local food systems, not as a novelty, but as a way of life” said Tina Garland Farm to School Coordinator from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
Over the past decade, the farm to school movement has exploded across the country, reaching millions of students in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. From school gardens and farm field trips to local food on cafeteria trays, farm to school practices help children learn about where food comes from and make healthier choices while also creating new markets for local and regional farmers.
“Communities across Kentucky are ready and eager to get started with farm to school or grow their existing activities, but schools need support to establish strong and sustainable programs. The development of the farm to school Demonstrations Sites is a powerful model of peer learning – schools coming together to inspire each other, to share real successes and real challenges.” said Sara Tedeschi, Seed Change Program Manager for the National Farm to School Network. “During National Farm to School Month we all have the opportunity to shine a light on these programs, their many benefits extending from students to the wider community and the importance of continued funding supporting schools to incorporate farm to school into their everyday activities and curriculum.”
About Seed Change
Seed Change is a state-level initiative of the National Farm to School Network designed to support activities that bring local food into schools and elevate food education for children. With this program, the National Farm to School Network is rapidly scaling up farm to school in states poised for growth and strengthening partnerships for long-term sustainability. Learn more at farmtoschool.org/seedchange.