In recognition of National Farm to School Month this month, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced that Florida school districts purchased more than $59 million of Florida products during the 2017-2018 school year through the Farm to School initiative. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Farm to School initiative connects K-12 schools with local farmers and growers to provide fresh, seasonal produce and Florida commodities to students during school meals.
Florida products purchased during the 2017-2018 school year through the Farm to School initiative include:
- More than 219 half pints of Florida milk, valued at more than $55 million;
- More than 1.8 million pounds of Florida produce, valued at more than $3.5 million; and
- More than 65,000 pounds of Florida beef products, valued at more than $185,000.
The Farm to School initiative promotes opportunities for schools and growers to increase the volume of locally grown produce served in cafeterias and coordinates statewide lunch menus to coincide with Florida’s harvest season. Florida’s Farm to School initiative supports more than 500 jobs and has an estimated total economic impact of $132 million.
National Farm to School Month facilitates opportunities for hands-on nutrition and agriculture education through activities including: cafeteria taste tests, nutrition education activities in the classroom, farm visits and school garden harvests.
The department’s Farm to School initiative positively impacts local economies, reduces transportation costs and helps to preserve farms and farmland. For more information on efforts to increase the volume of locally grown product that is served in school cafeterias and dining halls, visit the department’s Farm to School initiative webpage. Schools interested in participating in or growing their Farm to School initiative can email [email protected] to connect with a member of the department’s Farm to School team.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.