Each year in October our country celebrates National Farm to School Month. Farm to School is a program that enriches our community’s connection to healthy and local foods by changing purchasing and education practices in schools. In Pasco County we have quite a few events and initiatives to get excited about. For more information about Farm to School Month please visit www.farmtoschool.org .
One of the most egg-citing things going on in Pasco County this month will take place on October 29th, at Richey Elementary. The Department of Agriculture and The Florida Poultry Federation teamed up to sponsor an event that will be fun and educational for students…and they chose Pasco County! The focus for the day will be egg nutrition. Did you know our very own Senator Simpson is the proud owner of a Pasco County poultry farm? He is looking forward to coming out to Richey Elementary to meet the students, serve them breakfast, and lead them in an egg nutrition activity. School breakfast that day will be served with an egg-cellent twist; In addition to normal menu items, the students will have their choice of a fresh egg omelet or hard-boiled egg! Students will also receive goody bags with egg-themed education and prizes. This is bound to be a really fun time for both the students and staff at Richey Elementary!
Farm to School month is a great opportunity each year to increase awareness about the local farmers who grow food in our surrounding areas. One way that we do this is by using Florida-grown produce in our school lunches. This month we will be featuring additional local fruits and vegetables. Menu items include corn on the cob and summer squash from Pexco farms in Plant City as well as fresh Florida Oranges from Florida Classic Growers in Dundee, FL. To see what’s on the menu, click here!
One school in particular had a very successful experience growing produce in their very own back yard! The 2nd and 3rd grade students at Gulfside Elementary planted sweet potatoes last year to get hands-on experience with gardening. After several months of growing, the sweet potatoes were ready for harvest and the results were amazing! So many sweet potatoes were grown that there was enough to be used as the vegetable option in the school lunch that day! Volunteer chefs helped the students pick the vegetables, then washed and prepared them for eating. The students had so much fun seeing their hard work turn into a yummy treat! To see for yourself, watch the adorable video on our Facebook page: Pasco County Schools Food and Nutrition Services
Farm to School month is a wonderful time to increase our support of our local farmers and to teach our students about how food is grown. Celebrate with us as we strive to incorporate more farming education and experiences in our schools.
Guest Blogger: Kerry Hensel, Dietetic Intern, James A. Haley VA