Kentucky named to farm-to-school initiative funded by Walmart Foundation grant
For Immediate Release
Friday, March 13, 2015
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FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky is one of three states that will partner with The Walmart Foundation and the National Farm to School Network to expand efforts to get more local foods into schools, the network announced Thursday.
“Kentucky has led the way in helping schools locate and purchase local foods for their students while at the same time helping farmers find new markets for their products,” Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said. “We’re grateful to the National Farm to School Network and The Walmart Foundation for recognizing Kentucky’s leadership and awarding private-sector funding to help us provide our students with fresh, nutritious local foods.”
The Seed Change project will “jump start” programs that get local foods into schools and enhance food education for more than 1.8 million school children in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania, the National Farm to School Network wrote in a news release.
A total of 100 farm-to-school sites in the participating states each will receive $5,000 grants to implement farm-to-school activities, the network’s statement said. Applications for mini-grants will be accepted later this spring. Two model school districts in each state will serve as demonstration sites and training hubs for other school districts.
The three-state initiative is funded by a grant from the Walmart Foundation.
The news release points out that more than 12.5 million American children and adolescents between 2-19 years old are obese. More than 5 billion lunches and more than 2.2 billion school breakfasts were served in U.S. schools in 2013, the network said.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Program connects school food service systems with local farmers and food producers. The program helps students learn to appreciate the importance of local foods and grow into well-informed consumers who demand local foods as adults.
Kentucky schools in the KDA program served local foods to an estimated 364,000 children in approximately 702 schools in the 2011-2012 school year. A total of 84 school districts are members of Kentucky Proud.
The Kentucky Farm to School Program runs the Farm to School Junior Chef competition, in which high school cooking teams throughout the Commonwealth compete for scholarships while learning basic cooking techniques and being educated about the importance of local foods.