Farm to school week spotlights efforts to get local foods into kentucky schools
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 12, 2012
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FRANKFORT, Ky. — Fresh, local Kentucky Proud foods in schools help students maintain healthy weights and strong bodies while enabling farmers to make a living, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said in proclaiming Oct. 22-26 Farm to School Week in Kentucky.
"More and more Kentucky schools are buying foods from local farmers to serve to their students," Commissioner Comer said. "The Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Farm to School Program helps schools connect with local producers. The schools buy fresh produce and meats to serve to their students. The farmers get another market for their products."
Thirty-one Kentucky school districts that participate consistently in the Farm to School Program spent some $280,000 on local foods during the 2011-2012 school year. Those school districts serve approximately 325,000 students. A total of 84 school districts are members of the Kentucky Proud program, which helps Kentucky farmers market their products.
"Fruits and vegetables grown locally and served at their peak of freshness are more nutritious than produce trucked in from across the country or across the border," Commissioner Comer said. "In a time when cases of overweight and obese children are at epidemic levels, it's more important than ever that we provide our children with the best foods."
More than one-third of all Kentucky children are overweight or obese, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. As a result, some Kentucky children are suffering from diseases normally seen in adults, such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and arthritis, the National Governors Association wrote in a 2010 report. Obese adolescents are up to 80 percent more likely to be obese as adults and will be at greater risk of health problems, the NGA report said.
For more information about the Farm to School program, go to www.kyagr.com/consumer/farm-to-school.html.