By Lisa Damon
October is such an exciting time in Massachusetts! On the farm it’s harvest time with apples and pears ripening in the orchards and vegetables being brought in from the fields. Students throughout the Commonwealth will be savoring these locally grown foods in their cafeterias as they celebrate the Harvest of the Month with Massachusetts Farm to School. Mass. Farm to School works across the Commonwealth to increase access to healthy, locally grown food in schools and other institutions for the good of our children, our farms, and our communities. Staff members facilitate sustainable purchasing relationships between local institutions and local farms, promote local food and agriculture education for students, and support state, regional and national networking of farm to school practitioners.
In its second year, Mass. Farm to School’s Harvest of the Month campaign successfully promotes a different Massachusetts-grown food each month in K-12, college, and hospital cafeterias. The campaign aims to encourage healthy choices by increasing students’ exposure to seasonal foods while also supporting local farmers and building excitement around school meals. This year over 120 public school districts, nearly 20 private K-12 schools, as well as 7 colleges & universities and 2 hospitals are participating!
In addition to Food Day on October 24, many schools will be taking the opportunity to celebrate the bountiful harvest season all month long, during National Farm to School Month. October is National Farm to School Month and communities here in Massachusetts, and across the country, are finding creative ways to celebrate and sharing their stories every day on the National Farm to School Network blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter #FTSMonth.
In the Northeast, there’s an ongoing photo contest to share what you love about farm to school. Anyone involved with a Northeast farm to school program can enter an original photo, by October 22nd that answers the question: “What do you love about farm to school?” Click here for more info and contest submission guidelines. Great prizes including a Technical Assistance Package and Farm Favorites gift basket are available for the winners.
October has so many opportunities to celebrate local fresh foods in cafeterias! To find out more visit us on Facebook!