Maryland schools have more of a Food Revolution feel than I thought. Yesterday, I got an email from the school system, alerting me of a new press release for “School Lunch Week” that starts on Monday. I wasn’t quite sure what the release would be about. Maybe all the kids are supposed to bring their lunch next week (no problem here), or maybe they were going to encourage the parents to have their kids buy lunch next week. Who knows?
As it turns out, the press release was kind of a blend of both worlds, the healthiness of a homemade lunch with the convenience of a school-bought lunch. “School Lunch Week” is really the vessel for something much more important, in my opinion: Farm to School. Started three years ago, Farm to School brings local, Maryland-grown produce to the schools. Here are a few interesting facts I pulled from their website:
- Maryland was the only state in which all of its public school systems have participated in the program.
- The program has the support of over 30 local Maryland farms.
- They aim to educate students about where their food comes from, how its produced, and the benefits of a healthy diet.
Harford County has become a bell-cow of sorts for the Farm to School program. Last year over 70% of the food in their schools came from producers within a 50 mile radius during the Maryland growing season! I don’t know about you, but I find that to be amazing and shocking at the same time!
I’m hopeful that this new view on food and locally grown produce in the schools catches on – I believe it will; there’s too much positive chatter going on for it not to. I can’t think of a better way to support local farmers, large and small, while also making a big impact on the lives of our kids. Especially those that might not otherwise have the opportunity.