Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education is pulling a chair up to the table to talk about National Farm to School Month. The board is inviting special guests and the media to join them for farm fresh food during its monthly meeting in Charleston on Wednesday.
The board’s event is kicking off West Virginia’s Farm to School celebration which is slated to take place in schools across the state from Oct. 13 – 17.
“We know that farm fresh food is served in school cafeterias across West Virginia every day but National Farm to School Month allows us to spotlight thriving programs,” said Gayle Manchin, president of the West Virginia Board of Education. “The Board is so proud of the combined efforts of school cooks, local farmers and students who have exhibited great entrepreneurial efforts across our state as part of the Farm to School program.”
During the Board meeting, Fish Hawk Acres, a collaborative farm business, will serve Cobb salad and butternut squash soup. Carver Career Center students will provide a locally sourced snack while Kanawha County Schools will provide kale chips and homemade ranch dip. The kale was locally grown in a garden at Piedmont Elementary School in Charleston.
Meanwhile, the West Virginia Department of Education challenged every county to feature their local Farm to School initiative. The West Virginia Department of Education has worked to increase the amount of local foods in schools and to "grow" the next generation of farmer by supporting student farmers at every grade level. The efforts are centered on collaborating with partners, non-profits, county staff, state agencies, and members of the farming community who share the same vision. Over the past three years, the WVDE Office of Child Nutrition has awarded Community Transformation Grants to twenty-four counties and 60 FFA student farmers. Sixteen school districts have also been awarded United States Department of Agriculture Team Nutrition start-up grants. In addition, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation funds have been used to support 12 Ameri-Corps members in various counties around the state to help build capacity for the Farm to School program.
To find out how each county school system is celebrating Farm to School Month, contact the local food service director: http://static.k12.wv.us//tt/2014/FSD-add-email-phone-08212014.xlsx.
For more information about National Farm to School Month, contact Liza Cordeiro in the WVDE Communication Office at 304-558-2699.