There’s more to school lunches than meets the eye. Every year, public schools across the country serve over 7 billion low-cost or free lunches to more 35 million students every school day. These meals provide some children with the most calories and nutrients they will receive all day - inside the school or out. If ever there was a place to help kids eat more fresh, healthy, local fruits and vegetables, it would be here in the cafeteria.
And, off we go, back to school! Students can be excited to be on their way back to school, antsy with anticipation, missing friends, and going a little stir crazy at home. With the start of the school year is an opportunity to reconnect and dive back into their communities at their home away from home - the classroom.
Sustainable Food Center’s Farm to School program has been working with the Austin Independent School District since 2007 to bring healthy food education and experiences into the classroom, cafeteria, and in the garden. Initially, a handful of schools worked with SFC, but we have since expanded to 53 AISD schools. Our Farm to School Ambassadors help facilitate Meet the Farmer Visits, Veggie Sampling events, distribute local food promotional materials, and provide information about school gardens. Our Ambassadors commit to a one semester internship, providing outreach to these school partners to help connect and assist with implementing these offerings. We’re currently accepting applications now, so click here for more information on becoming a Farm to School Ambassador!
It’s amazing to see how enthusiastic students of all ages can get when it comes to trying fresh produce, directly from a farmer. Green Gate Farms - an urban farm based right here in Austin - participates regularly in Meet the Farmer Visits at schools. Erin Flynn, co-owner of Green Gate Farms, often brings seeds, plants, and tools from her farm to show to the students during these visits. It’s amazing to see students and children engage.
And when Farmer Erin brings farm-fresh carrots to sample out, beware: students will stampede to get their hands on them. That’s Farm to School in a nutshell.