Friday, 13 October 2017 13:14

Fresh fruit, vegetables on the table in county school system

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Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables will soon be on the menu for Halifax County children.

Cafeterias system wide will be serving up fresh collard greens, squash and apples during the month of October.

The school system is participating in the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Farm to School program which works to put locally grown fruits and vegetables into schools.

The schools also feature special in-cafeteria promotions highlighting locally grown foods served throughout the year. October is recognized nationally as Farm to School Month.

The Farm to School program has continually grown since its start in 1997, with a $100,000 increase in sales from 2008 to 2010.

The 2011-2012 school year was the biggest for the Farm to School program, with more than $1,200,000 in total sales to local schools.

“Our school system has been a longtime supporter of the Farm to School Program and we have been happy with the results,” said Joseph Otranto, Halifax County Schools food nutrition director. “Our kids look forward to having North Carolina products on the food line. Strawberries and watermelons are among some of their favorites. Plus, I like knowing we are helping support local farmers.”

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler appreciates the schools’ support, too, and sees the program as a positive step in helping fight childhood obesity.

“We are fortunate in this state that farmers produce so many fruits and vegetables, so school kids have plenty of healthy and nutritious choices,” Troxler said. “It doesn’t get much fresher than being grown in your own state.”

NCDA&CS Food Distribution and Marketing divisions coordinate the Farm to School program.

In addition to collard greens. squash and apples, school systems are able to purchase other commodities throughout the year, including watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, cabbage, sweet potatoes and broccoli.

Food Distribution coordinates deliveries of the commodities from the farms to the school systems, and the marketing division works with farmers to fill orders.

For more on the Farm to School Program, contact Heather Barnes, NCDA&CS marketing specialist, at (919) 707-3127 or go to www.ncfarmtoschool.com/.

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