ANSTED, WV (WOAY) – Farm to School has returned for its second year.
It’s a program that has been incorporated into Fayette County Schools to bring fresh foods to students and their families. It’s also a collaborative effort between several different departments, organizations, and local farmers.
Last year was the program’s initiation in elementary schools across the county.
A major part of the program, the first pop-up farmer’s market of the year was held at Ansted Elementary on Friday. It allowed the students to fill up bags of fresh produce, teach them about farmers’ markets, and make such fresh foods more accessible to them.
“There are a lot of issues in the county with access to food, and also access to healthy food,” says the coordinator at New Roots Farm, Kathryn Eckman. Sometimes the closest grocery store is like Dollar General and there’s not a lot of fruits and vegetables there, so these markets are great because they send fresh fruits and vegetables home, as well as recipes so that the families know how to use them.”
The program attempts to source as much local produce from farms around the area as much as possible. Friday’s batch came from New Roots Community Farm in Fayetteville.
The students were able to take home fresh apples, onions, cabbage, and more at no cost. Increased funding, more resources, and positive community feedback have allowed the program to expand almost double the school market than last year.
“I just hope if anything that I can leave the kids feeling more confident in their food choices and not so stressed about eating,” says the new Ameri Corps member of the program, Morgan Preast. “Just the excitement in the kid’s faces I really enjoy, and having them be so excited to bring home a bag of produce, and to have them say how much their moms love to make this with that, so I think they really enjoy it.”
Along with the pop-up markets, the program is bringing more locally-sourced food into school cafeterias, installing school gardens, and teaching nutrition education to the students.
This week the program had planned to hold the farmers market at New River Intermediate and Fayetteville Pre k-8. Before the end of October, they expect to reach every public elementary school in the county.