Tucson School to Support Local Agriculture on Farm to School Day

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farmtoschool.jpgFarm to School Day, January 15, is part of St. John The Evangelist Elementary School’s “Eat Well, Be Well” Health Week, January 14 through 18, 2008, which features the Community Food Bank Mobile Market, energetic recess activities, agriculture education in the classroom, a community health fair, and dental health checks by Reach Out America. St. John’s Farm to School Day will provide local, fresh produce at lunch and a direct-market opportunity for local farmers.

St. John School partnered with the Community Food Bank to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables to serve during lunch on Farm to School day, January 15, 2008. Students will share an Arizona-grown salad bar with parents, farmers, government officials, Tucson community members and local political leaders to draw attention to child health and obesity, the local agriculture economy, and healthy school lunch.

The National Farm to School program is designed to link schools with local farms. Farm to School programs serve local, fresh, fruits and vegetables in school cafeterias to improve student nutrition. On average food served in school lunch travels 1,100 miles reducing its nutritional value and freshness. The vegetables served on Farm to School Day traveled less than 150 miles from farms in Marana, Amado, Phoenix, and Willcox. The school, through education and providing healthier options in the cafeteria, will help students learn how their food choices affect their own health. 

The partnership between St. John School and local farmer was facilitated by the Community Food Bank Community Food Security Center. The Community Food Bank is uniquely posed to facilitate Farm to School relationships between food service directors and growers. The Food Bank operates two farmers’ markets, a 10-acre farm, and a variety of innovative child nutrition programs. Bill Carnegie, CEO of the Community Bank stated, “The Community Food Bank is excited about this new opportunity to bring high quality fresh vegetables to local students. We know that when children have increased access to these types of products that they will eat more servings thereby improving their eating habits and nutritional health.”

For further information, please contact Amber Herman, National Hunger Fellow currently working for the Community Food Bank. Visit the National Farm to School web site.