Wait a minute mom. . .apples don’t come in a package?
One of the big questions that all parents have today is “how can we improve nutrition in our schools?”
Before I became a stay-at-home mom to our two children, I worked in a public school as a first grade teacher. School lunch often consisted of pizza, “beef dippers (mystery meat version 2.011)” and apples that came pre-sliced in a branded package. Being the wife of an organic egg farmer, this was very disconcerting to me.
We should be feeding the developing minds and growing bodies of our kids nourishing foods that are locally or regionally sourced (if possible). Teaching them about the origins of their food by connecting them directly to farms and farmers will also help to encourage kids to think more about their own nutrition. Because it is easier, many schools instead offer processed foods that would have previous generations scratching their heads.
A growing number of schools are now working to change this trend by joining the National Farm to School Network (http://www.farmtoschool.org/). The National Farm to School Network was started in 1995 with pilot projects like “The Edible Schoolyard” in Berkeley, California, which was started by Alice Waters of the Chez Panisse Foundation (http://www.edibleschoolyard.org/). The Edible Schoolyard brought the “farm” to the students with a garden and classroom designed to help children to learn more about sustainble and organic farming and healthy food choices.
Today there are over 2,000 Farm to School Programs in all 50 states including New Hampshire Farm to School (http://www.nhfarmtoschool.org/), which included “The Apples and Cider Project” aiming to bring local apples and cider directly from farms to local schools. Farming is also in need of a new younger generation to help give agriculture in this country a boost in a way that is sustainable and healthy.
In November 2010, Congress officially designated October National Farm to School Month (http://www.farmtoschoolmonth.org/). Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs welcomes kids from our town school and local area schools in for visits to see our farm and our egg processing facility to show them the entire process from hen to package. We will also be celebrating with a breakfast at the school and a visit by our very own Gerry and Jesse.
We hope your local schools are participating in Farm to School Programs; but if not, pass this information along and make a farmer friends with your school.