October is Farm to School and is a perfect time to spotlight efforts by local producers and school districts to provide healthy meals for kids and help the local economy.
Amy Gilroy manages the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Program which is one of the most well-funded in the nation.
“Just in the last few years, the program has grown from being able to serve about 25 school districts in the state, and now we are almost at, I think, about 140 school districts. That is very remarkable.”
And that could grow due to high levels of interest amongst producers and schools to be involved in some version of a farm to school program.
Gilroy said the program puts money in the hands of local producers while helping kids.
“Right now, there are about 500,000 kids in public schools in Oregon and the program reaches almost half of them. Kids get about half their calories at school these days and so, again, this is one way we can ensure that those kids that are eating school lunch are getting a healthy meal.”
ODA will honor six producers who are part of the program and have other celebrations in honor of farm to school month.