It takes teamwork. North Carolina farmers grow delicious fruits and vegetables. Children in North Carolina schools eat them.
That is the way it works when fresh, locally produced fruits and vegetables are procured for many of the state's schools under the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Farm to School program.
In December, the local farm produce included offerings of cabbage, broccoli crows, Romaine lettuce, apple slices, sweet potatoes, and collards.
"This marks the final shipment for 2012, and it includes some of the same vegetables that are holiday meal favorites in many homes," says N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "It is great that schools can provide fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetable options year-round. Collards, cabbage, apples and sweet potatoes will make up the next deliveries in early January when students return."
The fruits and vegetables in the program go to help supply school lunches for 59 school systems across the state. The N.C. Farm to School Program is managed by the NCDA&CS Food Distribution and Marketing divisions. NCDA notes the Food Distribution Division works with child nutrition directors to take food orders, as well as to pick up and deliver the fresh produce from the farm to the school systems. The Marketing Division works with local farmers to fill the orders, as well as to design promotional materials for school districts. The Marketing Division also provides nutritional information and materials telling about the benefits of locally grown produce.
North Carolina farmers from the mountains to the coast produce the fruits and vegetables in the program. Farms that participate in the program must be certified in Good Agricultural Practices, a food safety certification. Farms are also members of the NCDA&CS "Goodness Grows in N.C." program.
For the New Year the N.C. Farm to School program will offer the following fruits and vegetables to school districts across the state: watermelons, cantaloupes, slicing and grape tomatoes, apples, peaches, sweet corn, cucumbers, kale, broccoli crowns, sweet potatoes, cabbage, collards, romaine lettuce, apple slices, strawberries, squash, zucchini, and blueberries.
Learn more about the program at www.ncfarmtoschool.com.