Earlier this week the U of M Extension and the MN Dept. of Health invited community leaders, schools, farmers, and parents across Central MN to attend a free screening and discussion of a 30-minute documentary on the Farm to School partnerships in our state. This in-depth documentary, Farm to School: Growing our Future, provides viewers with ways communities can work together to improve children’s health and education with sustainable actions to build healthy, strong communities.
Farm to School is a program that connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the purpose of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.
Farm to School provides a model for positively influencing children’s eating habits. There is a distinct connection between healthy food choices and knowing where food comes from, how it grows, and who grows it. This knowledge has proven to impact how a child thinks about and enjoys food.
What’s more – healthy diets positively and directly impact students’ academic performance. What students eat directly affects their ability to perform in the classroom. Efforts by Minnesota schools and producers to work together and put farm-fresh foods on lunch trays around the state are helping MSNA fulfill its vision of making quality, nutritious foods available to all students as an integral part of their education.
In Minnesota, more than a half million students (68% of K-12 students) are now engaged in Farm to School according to a pair of surveys released by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and the Minnesota School Nutrition Association (MSNA). IATP estimates that $1.3 million of Farm to School foods were purchased by Minnesota school districts last year alone.
These numbers are profound. We are now seeing the Farm to School benefits: more students are eating fresh and healthy foods, more farmers are selling to nearby schools, and more of our food dollars are circulating in the local economy.
Did you attend a local screening and discussion session? Tell us about it! Or, watch the video and share your thoughts with BLEND.
To attend a screening and discussion session outside the Central MN area visit the U of M Extension website!
Although the St. Cloud screening has passed, if you have questions or comments about the Farm to School: Growing our Future documentary or about Farm to School in general, please contact Mary Caskey.