FRANKFORT, Ky. — Serving local foods in Kentucky schools benefits the entire community, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said in proclaiming October as Farm to School Month in Kentucky.
“Eating healthy local foods helps Kentucky kids do their best,” Commissioner Quarles said. “At the same time, when schools buy local, farmers and food businesses increase their sales, and that boosts the local economy. During Farm to School Month, let’s celebrate our past success and commit to put more local foods on the plates of Kentucky school children in the future.”
The Farm to School program in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) helps connect Kentucky school systems with local farmers and small businesses. Kentucky schools spent nearly $8.9 million on local food products in 2013-2014. More than 700 schools in 77 Kentucky school districts had programs in place to buy local Kentucky foods for their school cafeterias, according to the 2015 Farm to School Census compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Many students take part in planting school gardens, visiting farms, and turning the cafeteria into a classroom.
The program runs the annual Farm to School Junior Chef competition, in which high school culinary teams compete for scholarships and the coveted Junior Chef Trophy while learning cooking skills and gaining an appreciation for local foods. The competition has developed into a national model, and 2018 champion Harlan County will compete against champions from seven other states in the second annual Southeastern Junior Chef Tournament in May 2019 at Sullivan University in Louisville.
For more information about the Farm to School program, go to the Farm to School page on the KDA’s website, kyagr.com, or contact Tina Garland at (502) 382-7505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Kentucky Department of Agriculture
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