October is Farm to School Month in Arkansas
By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Oct. 14, 2016
- Gov. Hutchinson declares October Farm to School month in Arkansas
- Division of Ag supports Farm to School efforts with educational efforts that reach more than 40K students
LITTLE ROCK – October is Farm to School Month, celebrating efforts to keep Arkansas’ families connected with the source of their lunches.
Through the Cooperative Extension Service, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is involved in several aspects of Arkansas Farm to School from field to classroom to cafeteria by helping farmers with best practices for growing and marketing their products, connecting local growers to school food service and teaching students about making healthy food choices.
On Thursday, Division of Agriculture extension faculty and staff were among those at the Arkansas Capitol to celebrate signing of the proclamation by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
“The governor’s proclamation that October is Farm to School Month is a good reminder of all the statewide efforts that connect locally grown foods with local school cafeteria plates,” said Ron Rainey, director of the Southern Risk Management Education Center and extension economist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
Rainey, who works closely with Arkansas’ farmers markets, said that “Farm to School connects students, schools and farmers through learning opportunities in the classroom, the cafeteria and school gardens.”
The educational aspect is important to enable children to understand that their food comes from a place beyond the grocery store, and get a sense of the variety of fruits, vegetables and other produce that can make their meals tasty and nutritious.
“Through Farm to School efforts, children have the opportunity to learn about and try local foods they may not have experienced before,” said Rosemary Rodibaugh, professor-nutrition, for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“Our school-based programs like Serving Up MyPlate, Eating from the Garden, Arkansas Foods and Arkansas Farm to You reach more than 40,000 students with fun and informative nutrition education opportunities,” she said. “Surveys show that students are eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water and drinking less sugary drinks as result of what they have learned through extension nutrition education programs.”
To learn more about Farm to School visit http://arkansasfarmtoschool.org/. For information on UA Extension’s school-based nutrition education programs contact your local county Extension office: http://www.uaex.edu/counties/default.aspx.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service