Farm to School and Student Health

Hey guys, Chantal Kwade here again, MAP intern from Buffalo State College.  Here is another article I wrote about farm to school.  You should check it out, learn more about farm to school, and share this article with your friends, family, and colleagues.

Farm to school legislation is advancing as part of the Child Nutrition Act (CNR) and we need everyone to become an effective advocate so that farm to school gets the support it needs from Congress.

I think farm to school is beneficial for families, children, farmers, and the community by promoting healthy, local produce from our community as well as receiving an education to promote better living.  One of the best ways to get children familiarized with healthy foods is at school.  Kids spend half of their time at school so it’s only best if they are served a healthy nutritious meal from their school cafeterias on a daily basis.  Many students dislike the food that is served to them.  They will either eat only pieces of their school lunch or nothing at all.

From my perspective, in elementary and junior high school in the Bronx, the only healthy product they served us was fruit cups, peaches or pears, and milk.  In the NYC Public Schools from 9th to 12th grade, the school lunches were all frozen and there were no healthy choices of produce with our meals.  Most kids also did not eat healthy fruits and vegetables at home, all they knew were sweets and fast foods.

I believe that students are directly affected by what they eat.  In the farm to school program, school lunches could include local fresh and healthy foods, mixed with meat, fish, or dairy products to help with a child’s balance diet on a day-to-day basis.  Students will taste and see the difference when one or more local food items are included in the salad bar, hot lunches, or any other meal service provided in the school’s cafeteria.

Schools that participate in farm to school may get a chance to teach and educate children on farming, produce, gardening, and health.  Children could learn about alternative food choices to improve their health, while also learning how to prevent certain diseases.  MAP youth Osman, said, “People don’t tell kids about nutrition and neither do schools.  They just give us anything to eat and some kids have no choice but to eat the lunch.”  Educating students on nutrition can change the way children eat at school and at home.

The Farm to School Act of 2015 will empower us and all families to make better choices of what we put into our bodies.  Showing support for the Farm to School Act is a great way to contribute to the community while helping the students.  Stay tuned for another article on how you can help support and bring awareness to the Farm-to-School Act.  Click here to learn more about the Farm to School Act of 2015.

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