Monday, June 23, 2008

Program gets schools local fruits and vegetables

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is following the lead of some other states and launching a program to provide school cafeterias with locally grown fruits and vegetables. Farm-to-School "is a statewide program designed to use fresh Virginia Grown products in school cafeterias. This program supports local farms and offers fresh, more nutritious foods for school meals," the VDACS Web site says. According to a press release, the Farm-to-School program Web site "serves as a matchmaker for farmers and school food service directors. It brings them together in a common goal to attach the problem of childhood obesity and provide better nutrition through consumption of fresh produce."

"The Farm-to-School program is about creating connections between growers, distributors and educational institutions," VDACS Commissioner Todd Haymore said. "Through these connections, we also can reach children and their parents. Farm-to-School also can play a constructive role in helping address the problem of childhood obesity, as few things are more helpful in that regard than adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to children's and families' diets. An added benefit is that using local produce in school menus supports the ag economy. This is a win-win situation for Virginia's children and for Virginia's farmers."

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