Kansas Governor Sam Brownback recently proclaimed the month of October as Kansas Farm to School Month, the week of October 22-25 as Farm to School Week and October 24 as Kansas Food Day.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture is joined in this initiative by the Kansas State Department of Education, Kansas Agri-Tourism, Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom and the Kansas Rural Center.
The National Farm to School organization broadly defines Farm to School as any program that connects schools (K-12) and local farms and strives to serve healthful meals in school cafeterias, improve student nutrition, provide agricultural education opportunities and support local and regional farmers and ranchers. It is estimated that in the 2011-2012 school year, around 5.7 million students in 12,429 schools across the nation benefitted from Farm to School programs.
Unlike National Food Day, which promotes only certain segments of agricultural production, Kansas Food Day is a celebrtion of the contributions of all Kansas farmers and ranchers, regardless of operation size or production practices utilized. According to the proclamation, it will take all involved with agriculture to meet the demands from consumers in Kansas and around the globe.
“Farm to School Month is an exciting opportunity to celebrate agriculture in schools and communities across the state,” said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman. “With the recent national focus on school lunch guidelines and an increasing interest from consumers to learn about food production, advocating for agriculture and educating people about where their food comes from is timely and important.”
To get involved with Kansas Farm to School Month, individuals can do the following activites:
- Share information about Farm to School Month with your school or community;
- Utilize Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom Nutrition Education Lesson Plans;
- Read daily Farm to School and Kansas agriculture facts each morning at school or at home;
- Serve the recommended Kansas Food Day Menu in your school district or to your family on Kansas Food Day;
- Share your Farm to School experience on the Kansas Farm to School Month Event Page on Facebook; and
- Learn how farmers and ranchers can contract with local school districts.
Please visit the KDA Farm to School webpage for more information about how to get involved with Farm to School Month or contact KDA education and event coordinator Kate Bormann at [email protected] or at (785) 296-7063.