Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday officially proclaimed October 2020 as Farm to School Month in Alabama.
The Alabama Farm to School Program promotes nutritional practices, fresh and local foods, school gardens and teaching agricultural education in Alabama schools. Local farms play an important role in the Alabama school systems by providing them with a variety of fresh, affordable and healthy produce options.
“We’re excited to promote and support the Farm to School program,” said Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate. “We believe it is an opportunity to instill healthy and nutritious eating habits in our young people while benefitting Alabama farmers.”
The National School Lunch Program is administered by the Department of Education in Alabama.
The Department of Agriculture and Industries works closely with the Department of Education to promote programs like Farm to School. Together the two departments are helping schools to locate and source local products, promote school gardens and create educational materials to help schools with nutrition and agriculture education.
In honor of Farm to School Month in October, Pate and Alabama State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Erik Mackey participated in filming a farm tour at Scott’s Orchard in Hazel Green, Alabama. The tour will be released as a virtual field trip on October 21st on the Alabama Farm to School program’s Facebook page.
“We have 1,200 cafeterias in Alabama that appreciate receiving fresh food from farmers,” Mackey said. “At Scott’s Orchard, we are seeing exactly what that means, from the ground, to the tree, picked and straight to our cafeterias. We appreciate Scott’s Orchard delivering fresh, farm foods to our cafeterias.”
“I also want to thank everyone at Scott’s Orchard,” Pate said. “Their farm is a perfect example of what we’re trying to accomplish with the Farm to School Program and Sweet Grown Alabama.”
Farms like Scott’s Orchard can be found in Alabama through the searchable database of Sweet Grown Alabama. The database allows consumers to easily connect with local farmers in their area and find specific Alabama grown products.