What About Farm-to-School for the Little Ones?

Toddler at a FarmI am not very good at baking….there I admit it. I love to cook but have a mental block on baking. It is challenging, to say the least, with all of my food allergies. (Wheat, gluten, eggs, dairy!) So I gave it up long ago but in the recent months the need has come back with my almost 3 year old son wanting blueberry muffins, “like at school”. So while grocery shopping yesterday I stopped to look at the pre-made muffin boxed mixes. I went straight to the side panel for the ingredients and could not believe my eyes. There were over 20 ingredients, most of which I could not pronounce. But what got me most of all was the company who has been around for over 80 years puts animal fat (“lard”) in their mix. I am pretty sure I do not want my son to have a lard muffin for breakfast.

So all of this got me thinking, who is monitoring the food labels in our daycare and school system? I love the daycare that my son attends. The facility, curriculum, teachers, and administrators are amazing. They focus on serving fresh healthy meals and snacks. They really care about the education and welfare of the children. But not all schools place the as much importance and care on healthy eating habits. I think back to the Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution television series last spring and how he took on the quality of food in all of the Los Angeles school system; one person can make a difference. So I have started doing some research on ways to introduce healthier food to the schools in the U.S. I came across an email from my co-worker on the Farm to School program that already exists in the states. Over 10,000 schools are already involved in the farm to school meal program!

In 2009, the USDA established the Farm to School initiative called Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food which works with school districts and local farms to use local produce and meat in school meals. The Farm to School program helps children learn where their food comes from, provides healthy cafeteria meals, and educates students on nutrition while supporting local agriculture. I was very excited to learn that we have a group established for our region here in southwest Colorado! I would love to bring farm to school to our small community. So I have a starting point and I will keep you updated on my progress….

Author: Danyelle Leentjes, Growing Spaces Marketing & Sales

 

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