What’s Working: Farm to School Program

RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – This month, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce teamed up with the Mississippi Department of Education and Rankin County Schools for Farm to School Week.

Children got tasteful lesson in healthy foods and how to grow them.

Everybody has to eat.

And fresh, natural food is the best thing for us.

School lunches in Rankin County recently got an infusion of local produce.

Few places are busier than a school cafeteria at lunch time.

The sounds of clanking silverware and hundreds of conversations fill the air.

The Farm to School Program is working to bring local fruits and vegetables to trays across Mississippi.

Highland Bluff Elementary Student Luke Humphreys says, “I like the food that it gives our cafeteria. It’s really good.”

Grower Gil Thompson explains, “It’s done in order to make sure that they get quality fresh vegetables, and the state is making a move towards making sure these kids eat good food.”

To that end, growers like Gil recently paid a visit to Highland Bluff to sow the seeds for a healthy appreciation of locally grown food, the fresher, the better.

Gil explains, “So that it won’t be coming from far off places like California, Mexico and other places, so they can be fresh when they get them, instead of being a few days old, a few weeks old, or whatever.”

Children are eating and listening.

Gil remembers, “I had one kid say, ‘Can I put vegetables on my pizza? Because, I know now that, I understand that I need vegetables.’ Which resonated with me, that hey, we are hitting home a little bit. Some kids want to grow up to be farmers.”

Luke shares, “I like picking the apples and tomatoes when they are fresh.”

We asked, “Do you eat them off the ground, or do you wash them first?”

Luke answered, “We wash them.”

We then asked, “Do you like eating them?”

Luke answered, “Yes!”

Sounds like the Farm to School initiative is already bearing fruit.

Mississippi lawmakers designated the first week of October as Farm to School week back in 2012

Children also learned about the vast array of crops that grow in Mississippi from butterbeans to zucchini.


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