Hutchinson Declares October Arkansas Farm to School Month
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has proclaimed October as Arkansas Farm to School Month, joining nationwide efforts to connect schools, early care and education sites, and other organizations with farms to bring local, healthy food to consumers.
“Farm to School Programs connect Arkansas’s early care and education programs and K-12 schools to local farms with the goal of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias to improve student nutrition and provide educational opportunities related to agriculture, health, nutrition, and science,” Hutchinson said in the Arkansas Farm to School proclamation.
Over 42,000 schools have joined the Farm to School movement across the U.S., engaging over 23 million students each year, including 192 schools serving over 95,000 students in Arkansas. Find more resources for Farm to School activities and support at: www.arkansasfarmtoschool.org.
Ways to participate in Farm to School Month in Arkansas include:
· Schools: Plan a school garden through your FFA or 4H Club. Farm to School grants are available through a partnership between the AAD and Farm Credit. Find out more at www.aad.arkansas.gov.
· Schools: Create a Farm to School salad bar, using local products.
· Teachers: Organize a farm tour or trip to the local farmers’ market.
· Teachers: Connect garden-based, hands-on learning activities to curriculum.
· Families: Take the kids to your local farmers market or harvest festival.
· Families: Cook with seasonal products, and involve the entire family in meal preparation.
· Farmers: Connect with your local schools, and offer to provide farm visits or classroom presentations.
· Farmers: Connect with a local teacher to provide photos and stories to students about your farming operation.
The Arkansas Farm to School Month Proclamation is supported by a group of Farm to School state and private partners, including the Access to Healthy Foods Research Group at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, Arkansas Department of Education Child Nutrition Unit, University Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, Arkansas Minority Health Commission, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas MarketMaker, Healthy Active Arkansas, and the Arkansas Agriculture Department.