By Denise Dunbar | email@example.com
The First Lady of Virginia, Dorothy McAuliffe, visited Charles Barrett Elementary School on Oct. 4 to commemorate Virginia Farm to School Week and National Farm to School Month.
McAuliffe, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples, Commissioner of Agriculture Basil Gooden, Secretary of Agriculture Sandra Adams and students from Charles Barrett simultaneously bit into their freshly picked Virginia apples to launch the “Crunch Heard Around the Commonwealth” event.
The Farm to School program helps connect schools with local food producers to offer fresh, healthy food in school cafeterias. School children across the state harvest the vegetables they have grown and taste vegetables and fruit from farms across the Commonwealth.
“This is the first time we have had a statewide Crunch event to celebrate our farmers. Today, we are taking a bite out of a juicy apple grown by farmers, but it is also important to have school gardens so that students learn that it takes hard work to make things grow.
They also learn that what comes out of the garden is rich in nutrients that contribute to a healthy body and mind,” McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe and Staples joined a kindergarten class as they learned about the farm-to-table cycle and then harvested sweet potatoes from the school garden just outside their classroom door.
Students observed the color, roots and feel of the sweet potatoes as they came out of the ground.
“Our students are being exposed to new fruits and veggies each week and they are learning healthy habits. The presence of the salad bar has helped our entire school community, including students, teachers and parents, think about making healthy choices,” said Charles Barrett Principal Seth Kennard.
The elementary school salad bars, which are supplied by local growers, are being introduced at all elementary schools across ACPS in the next two months as part of a program designed to boost healthy school environments.
Families that are knowledgeable about health and wellness activities are better equipped to encourage their children to make healthy decisions and pursue active lifestyles.