October is for celebrating Farm to School programming across Rhode Island, thanks to an official proclamation signed in 2017 by Governor Gina Raimondo. This statewide proclamation is in alignment with National Farm to School Month, designated by Congress in 2010 as an annual celebration of food education, school gardens, and lunch trays filled with nutritious, local ingredients.
To celebrate Farm to School Month, schools across the state are hosting events to bring awareness to Farm to School work in Rhode Island and highlight the connection between local farmers, eaters, and food literacy.
According to the Warwick school administration, Christine Barnes from Aramark is planning on going to different schools each month. For October, she will be at Warwick Neck on the 25th. There will be a representative from Farm Fresh Rhode Island, and Ace, Aramark’s mascot. They will be doing a taste test with the children with spaghetti squash. They will be at the school for all the lunch periods and spend about 10 minutes each lunch talking to the children.
Also local harvest fruit/veggies are on the menu: October 29-roasted butternut squash, October 30-roasted diced potatoes and November 1- kale & apple salad
Smithfield Public Schools are collaborating with Chartwells food service company to gear up for a “Great Apple Crunch,” a day-long celebration of RI-grown apples-with apple cider and other apple recipes available to taste, a “meet and greet” with the farmers from Jaswell’s Farm in Smithfield and Steere Orchard in Greenville, plus games and information provided by nonprofit local food hub Farm Fresh Rhode Island.
The Great Apple Crunch is meant to be a statewide celebration that everyone can participate in. Districts and schools can participate by purchasing and serving RI-grown apples in their meal programs and by bringing together students, faculty, and staff to “crunch” into local apples together as a way to bring awareness to fresh, local produce.
If a day-long celebration isn’t on the menu, schools and districts can also offer cafeteria taste tests of local produce, farm field trips, in-class lessons about eating with the seasons, garden education, and other activities that may seem small, but have a significant impact on children. Farm Fresh RI has resources and support available for hosting these types of activities in schools. Get Farm to School Month news and resources at farmfreshri.org/farmtoschool. Follow RI Farm to School on Facebook and Instagram @RIfarmtoschool.
As a Core Partner for the National Farm to School Network, Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s RI Farm to School program supports farm to school and farm to early care and education efforts in Rhode Island while serving as a liaison for information, resources, needs, and opportunities from the state.
Farm Fresh Rhode Island is a nonprofit organization founded in 2004 with a mission to grow a local food system that values the environment, health and quality of life of farmers and eaters in RI. Farm Fresh RI offers a wide array of access, education, and distribution programs aimed at building healthier communities, increasing access to fresh food, strengthening community-based businesses, and improving the impact of food production and distribution on our environment. For more information visit www.farmfreshri.org.