Update: September 15, 2009: The USDA began their Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative at Tree and Leaf Farm, just outside Washington DC. In building the relationships between farmer and eater, emphasis will be placed in connecting locally grown food with learning institutions, so our children will have the opportunity to eat good fresh healthy food in their school lunch. Good for the farmer, good for the school, and good for the community as its local food economy grows healthier too.
Marion Kalb, director of the Farm to School program, part of the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC), talks about the benefits to school kids, farmers, and rural communities when fresh, and local food is brought into the school lunch program for K-12 kids.
At first blush, it may seem too expensive for most budget-conscious school districts to adopt such a program? In addition, even though there may be clear health benefits of getting kids to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, along with important benefits to farmers and local communities, how many kids will actively participate, even if the opportunity is served to them on a silver platter (in this case, on a cafeteria lunchroom cart)?
But listen first to Marion Kalb, and you may find some of your doubts begin to fade. The Farm To School idea does work, and it may be coming to a neighborhood district where you live—with grassroots efforts, more success stories, and evangelists like Marion Kalb to inspire folks to try. As you will hear in the video, the benefits are potentially huge!