CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Local farmers and students are planting new seeds when it comes to serving locally grown food in school cafeterias. The first ever West Virginia Farm to School Conference is scheduled for Sept. 27-28, 2011, at the Lakeview Conference Center and Resort in Morgantown.
This is the first collective meeting focusing on the growing movement to serve healthy locally grown foods in school cafeterias.
“We know that a well fed child is a successful student,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “I am optimistic this conference will allow all the right people to brainstorm for ideas on how to better link local farmers with local schools.”
The idea behind the conference is to bring together producers, buyers and others who are trying to support the farm to school movement. The movement – which seeks to connect schools with local farms with the purpose of improving student nutrition, providing health and nutrition education and supporting local small farmers – is gaining momentum due to concerns about children’s health, the farm economy and the environmental impact of transporting food over long distances.
Participants at the conference will include West Virginia farmers, farmers’ market managers, educators, child nutrition directors, food service workers, school administrators, agriculturalists and citizens interested in helping to build farm to school programs in the Mountain State. Registration is free to producers and farmers, and $20 for food service directors and governmental reps.
The conference is sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Education, the Center for Economic Options, Potomac Headwaters and WesMonTy RC&Ds, the Small Farm Center, the Food and Farm Coalition and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. Funding support is also provided by the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency.
To register online or for more information, visit www.economicoptions.org or call (304) 345-1298.