National Farm to School Network is a grassroots movement powered by people like you who believe all students deserve equal access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. NFSN provides vision, leadership and support at the state, regional and national levels to connect and expand the farm to school movement.
We sat down with Aparma Joshi, Executive Director & Co-Founder of the National Farm to School Network. She had a lot to say, and she along with her devoted team and supporters all across the USA, have been fighting the good fight of increasing education and ultimately expanding the Farm to School programs to our children.
Here are a few important points she discussed with us:
1. Public Poll results: more Americans support farm-to-school programsNearly nine out of 10 people want to see an increase in farm-to-school food programming in the U.S., according to national survey results released late summer of this year. The poll — commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation — asked 1,200 adults across the country for their opinions on school nutrition standards and healthy food educational programs. (via USA Today).
2. Farm to School Act of 2015The Farm to School Act of 2015 will continue and will also expand upon the successes of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program by doing the following:
Fully including preschools, summer food service program sites and after school programs on the list of eligible entities; Increasing annual mandatory funding from $5 million to $15 million to better meet the high demand and need for this funding; Increasing access among tribal schools to farm-fresh and traditional foods, especially from tribal producers; and Improve program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
3. Farm to School is an effective strategy for supporting improved nutrition standards & fighting obesityAs Joshi stated, Healthy Kids are Common Sense, Not a Trend.
Studies show that farm to school activities improve early childhood and K-12 eating behaviors, including choosing healthier options in the cafeteria, consuming more fruits and vegetables at school and at home, consuming less unhealthy foods and sodas, and increasing physical activity.
4. Kids Can Make Healthy Choices: Education is KeyFarm to school programs provide experiential education opportunities for kids to taste, try, and eventually like new foods – to make choices for themselves. Farm to school is about creating positive food experiences for kids, with farm tours, cooking demos, school gardens, and farmers in the classroom.
All of this is compelling, don't you agree? Yet not all people have not been convinced. So, let's reiterate how and why this is such a good thing for our children!
Why should there be Farm to School?
- Farm to school provides all kids access to nutritious, high quality, local food so they are ready to learn and grow. Farm to school activities enhance classroom education through hands-on learning related to;
- Farm to school can serve as a significant financial opportunity for farmers, fishers, ranchers, food processors and food manufacturers by opening the doors to an institutional market worth billions of dollars.
- Buying from local producers and processors reduces the carbon footprint of food transportation while stimulating the local economy. Educational activities such as school gardens and composting programs create a healthy environment around the school community.
Visit the Farm to School site to find out what’s happening in your state regarding the FARM TO SCHOOL movement
FRUITS & VEGETABLES - THE STARS OF THE SHOWExpanding children's appetites for more fruits and vegetables can be a challenge as we all know, and familiarity to fruits and vegetables is essential at an early age.
One produce company, KIWI STAR was thrilled to have the opportunity to educate children and empower them with greater health and nutrition – especially since kiwis provide an enormous amount of vitamins and antioxidants, and they are also a fabulous school snack for a delicious boost in the middle of the school day. They are also so easy to eat! Just slice them in half, scoop out the flesh and enjoy the goodness!
The health and nutritional benefits are staggering:
One serving of kiwis (2 medium kiwis) equals:
• 240% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C • More potassium than a banana • Good source of fiber
We talked to KiwiStar® about what they do to help educate children about their fruit and its immense health benefits.
Recently Kiwi Star was approached by the NY International Youth Fellowship (IYF) World Camp to see if they could donate any items to their week-long summer camp. They jumped at the opportunity to help children and gave them plenty of kiwifruit to serve during meals at the camp.
"We are really excited to help educate children about our fruit and plan on doing a lot more!" says Sasha LoPresti, Marketing Director of Kiwi Star. "In fact KiwiStar® supports Produce for Better Health and their efforts to increase the consumption of fruits and veggies and are proudly displaying the More Matters logo on our packaging."
"We were told that the students loved the kiwis for breakfast," Sasha shared with us. She went on to say that one can easily add kiwi to a child's breakfast, which can help them get that jumpstart to the day. Or for a healthy after school smoothie, which would be a sweet treat that could easily replace the typical go-to junk food that kids might think that they want!
Kiwi Star shared their recipe for the perfect smoothie, andalso ways to find the perfect ripe kiwi. Because if the kiwi isn't ripe, the taste won't be quite as delicious as it should be apparently. So here are the tips to picking out the best ones for your family, straight from the kiwi experts themselves!visit their website and see how you can best get involved.
If you would like to know more information on Kiwi Star products and recipes and incorporate a bit more kiwi into your day, visit Kiwi Star on Facebook for all of the latest happenings and info