So more schools are buying local farm products to serve in their cafeterias according to a USDA survey. That’s a good thing I guess. As a parent I’m more concerned that my kids eat good healthy food. I know this USDA program is part of their efforts to help fight child obesity and hunger. I just don’t see that being an achievable goal when kids are not being raised to eat healthy by their parents. Schools have always done a good job providing a healthy meal for students regardless where it comes from. But the so-called obesity epidemic has grown in spite of that.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted important strides made in offering healthy, local food to millions of school children through USDA’s Farm to School program, and emphasized the program’s role in creating economic opportunity for America’s farmers and ranchers. According to USDA’s first-ever Farm to School Census, in school year 2011-2012, schools participating in farm to school activities purchased and served over $350 million in local food, with more than half of participating schools planning to purchase even more local foods in future school years.
“An investment in the health of America’s students through farm to school activities is also an investment in the health of local economies,” said Vilsack. “We know that when students have experiences such as tending a school garden or visiting a farm they’ll be more likely to make healthy choices in the cafeteria. We also know that when schools invest their food dollars in their local communities, all of agriculture benefits, including local farmers, ranchers, fishermen, food processors and manufacturers.”
Forty-three percent of public school districts across the country reported having an existing farm to school program in place, with another 13 percent of school districts surveyed committed to launching a farm to school program in the near future.