To celebrate National Farm to School month, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) and its partners through the West Virginia Farm to School Alliance are encouraging West Virginia schools, early childcare and education sites to teach students about the benefits of local food. By working with West Virginia farms, communities and organizations across the state, the WVDA aims to expand food education, school gardens and lunch options filled with healthy, local ingredients. Members of the West Virginia Farm to School Alliance include the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), WVU-Small Farms Center, WVU-Extension Service, West Virginia Farmers Market Association, West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition and the WVDA.
“The pandemic highlighted the importance of fresh, local food. The more of these types of products we can get in front of our children, the additional benefits we will see in the future,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “Local food is good health for our economy, citizens and our environment. This is an investment in our state’s future.”
The WVDA, through a State Administrative Grant from the United States Department of Justice, Food and Nutrition Service, purchased educational and outreach materials to showcase the expansion of Farm to School efforts in West Virginia. These materials focus on the value of farm to school, as well as farm to school options in the state. Materials will be delivered to counties for use in schools beginning in mid-October. County Superintendents or Food Nutrition Directors should contact the WVDA to request materials.
“Farm to school continues to grow in West Virginia as more individuals and organizations tap into this potential market. Our continued mission is to get all the entities working together to elevate all efforts around the state. We hope a stronger alliance will accomplish this goal,” Leonhardt said.
This year during National Farm to School Month, school age children will be able to vote on West Virginia’s new Farm to School logo. The new logo represents a greater commitment from the WVDA, WVDE and the Farm to School Alliance to expand branding, educational and other outreach efforts in the state. Voting starts Oct. 14 and will end on Oct. 29, wrapping up Farm to School month.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-558-2210.