You know I love me some P. Allen Smith. And I got to go back to Moss Mountain Farm this June to participate in a really fun event: Farm2Home15. I’m going to cover the event over the course of a few posts, topic-by-topic. We started the day with a really great discussion of Farm to School. It’s a program that works to bring local farm raised produce into the school system. The program is funded by a national grant.
Farmers are super-strapped for cash and schoolkids are obese (20% in 10-17 year olds) and eating too much processed food, ultimately setting them up for an obese adulthood with high risk for diabetes. Moreover, kids don’t understand where their food comes from. The marriage between local farmers and schools is truly a marriage made in heaven.
Everybody wins when schools are supplied by local farmers, rather than factory farms and food processors. Kids learn where food comes from (and it ain’t walmart). And just a 15% increase in locally supplied food can mean $15 million back into our Arkansas farmers’ pockets.
Just like grown-ups, kids can taste the difference, too. When presented with local watermelon vs. the shipped-in stuff, kids actually started eating the fruit – even choosing it over the other non-local foods available!
I was struck by the sincere interest in doing the right thing for kids that the farmers displayed. This program really isn’t just about making an extra buck (though our local farmers need that buck – let’s not fool ourselves). The program does so much more than that. And with most kids being raised in urban or suburban settings where, if you ask them where their Halloween pumpkin comes from, the default answer will be “Walmart”, the program does so much for everyone involved.