Record year for Farm to School program
When teachers and cafe teria staff encouraged students to eat their fruits and veggies this year, it is a good bet they were fresh from a North Carolina farm.
More than $685,000 worth of food made its way onto school trays during the 2008-2009 school year, the most for the 12-year-old Farm to School program managed by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The previous record for sales was more than $502,000 in 2007.
“Every year we have seen this program continue to grow as schools try a few locally grown products and discover their quality and freshness,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “I want to thank the school nutrition directors for continuing to support this program through their purchases. We look forward to many more years of this successful program.”
Strawberries, apples, water-melons and cantaloupes were amongst the favorites of students, based on order numbers. Nearly 13,000 flats of strawberries were delivered in 2009. A total of 8,787 cases of apples were delivered from September through December, and another 4,000 cases of apple slices went to schools between January and March.
Sweet potato sticks, which can be eaten raw with dip or prepared like French fries, were an added option this year, providing a convenient and healthy treat for students.
“We receive a lot of positive feedback from the schools, and this year’s record speaks for itself,” said Gary Gay, director of the Food Distribution Division. “We’re pleased because this program benefits the school children, North Carolina farmers and the economy.”