The Farm-to-School initiative ensures children have access to healthy school lunches and garden-based learning. The West Virginia Department of Agriculture also says they want to develop the next generation of West Virginia farmers.
Senator Joe Manchin recently announced $112k to support West Virginia farm-to-school programs.
Sixth-grader Tessa Adkins likes knowing her food is locally sourced.
“It’s important because like it’s coming from our state and stuff and you know it’s made near you,” said Adkins. “There’s different foods and they all come from that farm and they taste very good. You learn to be grateful.”
The cafeteria is a learning lab where the kids can gain knowledge about local foods grown in West Virginia during October’s ‘farm-to-school month’ -empowering young people to make informed food decisions.
“Chickens from Rainbow Mountain Farm and from Pyne Mountain Farm. We have green beans from Owl Mountain Farm, and then we’ve also got green beans from High Rocks in Pocahontas County,” said Fayette County Schools director of child nutrition Andrew Pense.
The Farm-to-School event provides the students an education on their local food system. Local farms increase the quality of the meals — you get fresher food faster.
“There’s educational benefit, there’s community development benefit, Fayette County school dollars going back into the community,” Pense said.
According to New Roots Community Farm’s development director Gabe Pena…
“To our local farms, which is so important to diversifying our economy.”
Increasing health literacy is an ongoing struggle. Having nutritious local food and meals at Fayette County Board of Education is a start.
“To really bring more fresh produce to these kids to help incorporate good eating habits into their everyday life,” said Pena. “Come on out to the farm and learn more about our efforts to build a strong local food system here in southern West Virginia.”