Local Food Hub to Provide Area Schools with Farm Sourced Foods from Virginia Producers
Local Food Hub will partner with area school districts to celebrate Virginia Farm to School Week, October 1-5. It will supply cafeterias in six public school districts and one private school with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and other products grown and made by Virginia farmers and producers.
“Since our founding in 2009, Local Food Hub has worked with its partner farms and with area school systems to provide schoolchildren with a bounty of local goods during this important week.” said Kristen Suokko, Executive Director of Local Food Hub. “Farm to School Week provides a special opportunity to build greater connections among community, food, and farms.”
Local Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that partners with more than 60 small family farmers and producers in Virginia to increase access to local food. It serves as an aggregation and distribution point for farm sourced food, provides training and technical assistance to its partner farms, and works in the community to increase healthy food access for everyone. Virginia Farm to School Week is organized by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and coincides with National Farm to School Month, declared for the month of October by the U.S. Congress.
During Virginia Farm to School Week, Local Food Hub will provide schools with pastured beef, pastured pork, apples, apple cider, broccoli, green beans, peaches, delicata squash, tomatoes, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, whole wheat flour, onions, grapes, and more. Schools will turn this bounty into dishes such as baked spaghetti with beef meat sauce, homemade vegetable soup, roasted potatoes and onions, farmers market salsa, and more. In Staunton City Schools, elementary students will use green beans in a math exercise before the beans are sent to the kitchen to be cooked for lunch. Local products purchased by schools for the week total more than $12,300.
Partnering schools include Albemarle County Schools, Charlottesville City Schools, Harrisonburg City Schools, Nelson County Schools, Rappahannock County Schools, Staunton City Schools, and St. Anne’s-Belfield School.
Local Food Hub will also support City Schoolyard Garden (CSG) and Charlottesville City School’s Harvest of the Month Program on Thursday, October 4. Each month, students in Charlottesville City Schools (CCS) are introduced to a fresh, healthy snack, grown by Local Food Hub partner farms and prepared by Nutrition Department staff with additional volunteer help coordinated by CSG. This program is supported by CSG garden coordinators and others at the school level and in the cafeteria. The Harvest of the Month program connects students to their food and helps them develop balanced lifelong eating habits through garden experiences, connections between classroom content and garden lessons, and wellness education on a range of topics like nutrition, physical activity and food preparation.
On Friday, October 5, students across the state will participate in the Crunch Heard ‘Round the Commonwealth, a synchronous eating of Virginia apples at 10:00 am.
Local Food Hub is able to participate in Virginia Farm to School Week thanks to the generous support from its partner farmers, community partners, and individuals and local businesses. A special thanks to Pollinator Sponsors Martin Horn and Red Light Management.