Introducing Local Food to Schools Through the Harvest of the Month Program
For the past 2 years, our Harvest of the Month cafeteria tastings have provided the opportunity for K-12 students in Staunton City Schools and Waynesboro Public Schools to be introduced to local vegetables that they aren’t familiar with, or ones that aren’t usually served at schools. We have seen these introductions of new produce generate a lot of excitement from the students, which then gives schools more confidence to then purchase this new vegetable to be served on the lunch line. The increased interest from students helps give momentum to the relationships between schools and local farmers, and their produce. Seeing the positive impact that fresh vegetables have on students’ outlook on food, incentivizes schools to buy from, and support, local farmers and producers, rather than buying from large corporations.
Facilitating Local Food Procurement from Schools to Farms
Why Local Food?
Not only is local food procurement more sustainable for schools and communities, but the increased quality of the food and nutritional benefits that go along with local produce is quite rewarding. When produce is procured from local farmers, the travel time from farm to school is usually around a day or less. This ensures that the food is at its most nutrient dense, as well as being much fresher than if it came in bulk from corporations. We are constantly seeing the beneficial relationship between students and fresh, local produce. The comprehensive understanding of the impact that fresh food can have, goes a long way (in youth and adults alike).
Continuing the Harvest of the Month Tastings During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Bringing Vegetables from Farm to Student in October
During the month of October, our harvest of dark leafy greens (a mixture of kale, collards, Swiss chard, and spinach) was sourced from us at
Project GROWS and JMD Farms. JMD is located in Staunton, VA and has been servicing the community for over 30 years! This delicious produce was prepped by Project GROWS staff into samples that were delivered to hundreds of families, accompanied by our Super Greens video.