Celebrate Farm to School Month with local foods
ST. PAUL — Governor Tim Walz has proclaimed October as Minnesota Farm to School Month. During the month, Minnesotans are encouraged to celebrate connections between students and local food, share our state’s farm to school stories and express gratitude for school nutrition professionals and farmers providing essential services to feed our kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As students across the state participate in a variety of in-person, distance learning and hybrid school settings, school nutrition professionals continue to provide students with fresh, nutritious food while supporting Minnesota farmers, which lifts the local economy.
“When our schools serve Minnesota kids locally grown food, it’s a win for everybody,” Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said. “Kids eat healthier, small farms have local buyers and our agricultural economy benefits. I’m proud that Minnesota is a national leader in Farm to School.”
Farm to School programs create connections between schools and farmers. Through these relationships, schools can provide fresh food to students, as well as educational opportunities for nutrition and wellness and hands-on learning experiences with school gardens.
“Healthy meals help our students focus on learning,” said Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “Through Farm to School programs, students get the nourishment they need with the bonus of opportunities to learn about where their food is produced. Thank you to our school nutrition teams and farmers for working together to support Minnesota’s students.”
What “Farm to School” means varies within our diverse communities throughout the state. Some schools purchase apples and dairy products from area growers and farmers, while others may serve wild rice from a local tribal community.
The Minnesota Farm to School Leadership Team recognizes that there are gaps in access to nutritious, culturally relevant food and is committed to creating a more equitable system. Across the state, there are many people working tirelessly to help get that food to our tables. That’s why this month we thank everyone – including all school nutrition professionals, farmers and farm workers – who continue to improve access to nourishing food for all kids in our communities.
Visit Minnesota’s Farm to School website to learn more ways to get involved. Share your Farm to School story and thank you on social media using #MNfarmtoschool.