BERLIN– A visit from a local farmer highlighted National Farm to School Month for students at Buckingham Elementary School.
Local farmer Carol Cross visited Buckingham last week as students all got a taste of a salad made with kale from Cross Farms. The visit was in recognition of National Farm to School Month, an initiative started in 2010 to cultivate the connection communities have with healthy food and local food producers.
“It’s important to get local foods on our menu,” said Odtis Collins, the school system’s coordinator of food service. “It’s vital to our kids, especially at this age, to learn about healthy eating and where their food comes from.”
Cross, who with her husband Shawn started Cross Farms on Pitts Road in 1993, has been working with Collins to provide the school system with a variety of fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables. Cross Farms has provided watermelon, cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes and kale so far this year.
“We want children to see where their food comes from,” Cross said.
Collins hopes to expand even further the amount of local produce used in school breakfasts and lunches.
“One of my goals has been to support local folks, especially our farmers,” he said.
He added that it was critical that students gain a better understanding of where their food comes from and how agriculture has an impact on their health. National Farm to School Month is meant to empower students to make more informed food choices.
For last week’s visit, Cross teamed up with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) educator Caitlin Daw to talk to students about nutrition and encourage them to taste test the kale sweet potato salad.
“Giving students the opportunity to taste nutritious foods in school at an early age is vital to establishing a
lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle,” Collins said. “We’re grateful to both Cross Farms and the SNAP-Ed program for enabling us to bring such a wonderful experience to the children of Buckingham Elementary.”