Kansas Farm to School Month
October is Kansas Farm to School Month! The Kansas Department of Agriculture is partnering with the Kansas State Department of Education, Kansas Agri-Tourism, Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom and the Kansas Rural Center to celebrate connections between local foods and schools. The partnership defined local foods as any food produced in Kansas.
The National Farm to School organization broadly defines Farm to School as any program that connects (K-12) and local farms and strives to serve healthful meals in school cafeterias, improve student nutrition, provide agricultural education opportunities and support local and regional farmers and ranchers. In the 2011-2012 school year, an estimated 5.7 million students in 12,429 schools across the nation benefitted from Farm to School programs.
We hope you will join us in the observance of Farm to School Month by acknowledging and celebrating in one or more of the following ways:
- Share information about Farm to School Month with your school or community
- Utilize Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom Nutrition Education Lesson Plans
- Read daily Farm to School and Kansas agriculture facts each morning at school or at home
- Serve the recommended Kansas Food Day Menu in your school district, or to your family, on Kansas Food Day
- Share your Farm to School experience on the Kansas Farm to School Month Event Page on Facebook
- If you are a producer and interested in contracting with a local school district, click here for more information.
The Governor also proclaimed October 24 as Kansas Food Day.
Kansas Food Day Priorities
Promote Well-Balanced, Nutrient Rich Eating Habits: Kansans of all ages should consume a healthful, well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet that includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, high-quality lean protein and low fat dairy products. We should help children develop healthful eating habits today that they can carry with them from childhood into adolescence and adulthood.
Support All Kansas Farmers and Ranchers: Consumers lose when interest groups seek to pit farmer against farmer. In Kansas, we know that it will take contributions from all farmers and ranchers, regardless of size or the type of production practices utilized, to meet growing food demands in Kansas communities, across the United States and around the globe.
Whether you are a farmer who grows crops on thousands of acres, a rancher with 100 head of cattle or a vegetable farmer who grows produce and sells at local farmers markets, in Kansas, we support you. We are committed to assuring regulatory programs are reliable and workable and that all farmers and ranchers have the ability to market their products as they see fit.
Continuously Improve Agricultural Production: Farmers and ranchers will have to double production in the next 20-30 years to meet food demands. Improvements in agriculture over the past 30 years have resulted in farmers and ranchers producing more safe, wholesome food using fewer resources.
For example, a study by Washington State University in 2007 found that today’s farmers and ranchers raise 13 percent more beef from 30 percent fewer cattle. When compared with beef production in 1977, each pound of beef produced today produces 16 percent less carbon emissions; takes 33 percent less land; and requires 12 percent less water.
Improvements in crop varieties and production have enabled Kansas farmers and ranchers to increase yield capabilities using fewer resources.
In order to meet food demands, it will take cooperation among local, state and federal governments, universities, private entities, non-governmental organizations and farmers and ranchers.
Reduce Hunger in Our Kansas Communities: Reducing hunger and food insecurity rates in Kansas will take a cooperative effort to improve availability and access to food. Kansas Farm to School programs work to connect schools (K-12) and local farms and strives to serve healthful meals in school cafeterias, improve student nutrition, provide agricultural education opportunities and support local and regional farmers and ranchers.
For more information about Kansas Farm to School Month and Kansas Food Day, please visit the Kansas State Department of Education’s Farm to School Month website.