September is Farm to School Month in Minnesota, designed to highlight partnerships between school districts and local farmers that bring fresh, local food to K-12 students and children in childcare. Weekly themes that put the spotlight on certain local foods and activities for students help schools build on the momentum that has established Minnesota as a national leader in the National Farm to School Network.
What started in 2006, with 10 districts engaged in Farm to School has expanded to more than 150 districts around the state and more than a half million students.
“We’re thrilled to see such dramatic growth in Farm to School,” said Erin McKee VanSlooten, Local Foods senior program associate with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). “Small- and mid-sized farmers connecting with the lunch plate means more local dollars stay in Minnesota, strengthening our economy, while at the same time offering good food to our students and an opportunity to learn how their food is grown.”
IATP’s past work on helping build Minnesota’s Farm to School Network has included conducting surveys, working with schools and local farmers to remove roadblocks to Farm to School and strengthen Minnesota’s network. IATP continues to work in partnership with current state lead organization University of Minnesota Extension to strengthen Minnesota’s Farm to School movement.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota has provided funding to build the foundation for the future expansion of Farm to School in Minnesota.
To learn more about this year’s Farm to School Month, visit http://www.farm2schoolmn.org.