Fresh-from-the-farm foods are finding their way onto school lunch trays across central Virginia this week during the Virginia Department of Agriculture-sponsored "Farm to School Week."
Charlottesville elementary schoolers sampled a menu of meats and produce Wednesday - including some they grew in their own garden. Landon Brigido and his third-grade classmate Hania Gonzalez stuffed their stomachs and their minds at Burnley-Moran Elementary.
“We learn how stuff gets transported from farms all the way from miles and miles,” said Brigido.
The cafeteria topped off trays with meals made from locally sourced meat and produce.
The Charlottesville nonprofit Local Food Hub provides the fresh ingredients from 80 farms to school systems across central Virginia.
“Access to fresh, local foods should be the norm and not the exception for all members of society. We feel there's no better place to start than with the schools,” said Kristen Suokko, executive director of the Local Food Hub.
Burnley-Moran's students even grew a veggie snack - red and yellow peppers - on the special menu this week.
“They've been shocked to see the things we can grow in our very own garden and the meals it can make for us,” said Rachel Savoy, second-grade teacher at Burnley-Moran.
Charlottesville City Schools hopes students share the local lesson with their families.
“We'd like to see that go home and influence children so they purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables,” said Christina Connell, school nutrition program co-coordinator for Charlottesville City Schools.
This week, Charlottesville students also sampled apples and cider from an orchard and met the grower.
The Local Food Hub is always looking for donations to support these school programs. To donate and learn more about Local Food Hub, click here.
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