The department’s popular Farm to School program recently received another honor — having Gov. Bev Perdue proclaim the month of October as Farm to School Month.
School kids are some of the program’s biggest fans, especially when the hugely popular strawberries, watermelon slices and apples are featured on the menus in school cafeterias.
During the month of October, several varieties of apples, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cabbage will be on the menu.
The Farm to School program started in 1998, providing high-quality North Carolina produce to school systems throughout the year. The child nutrition directors place orders for the upcoming commodities and incorporate those products into their weekly lunch menus.
The program’s logistics are handled by the NCDA&CS Food Distribution and Marketing divisions.
The 2009-2010 year was a record year for the program with $800,000 in sales – a win for farmers, the local economy and schools. Organizers are anticipating that the 2010-2011 may be even bigger.
Besides having a positive benefit for the economy, having fresh North Carolina fruits and vegetables in school lunches helps in the fight against childhood obesity by offering fresh food choices.
Watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, apples, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cabbage, Irish potatoes, collards, Romaine lettuce, strawberries, yellow squash, zucchini and blueberries are some of the commodities school kids have to look forward to.