It’s Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week!

Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week
Sept 19-23, 2011

Myrna Greenfield from Massachusetts Farm to School Project writes:

Massachusetts Harvest for Students WeekThe Massachusetts House and Senate have passed nearly identical resolutions designating September 19-23 as Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week.  The resolutions were introduced in the House by Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington) and in the Senate by Senator Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst).  During Harvest Week, schools and colleges promote the local harvest and serve fresh, nutritious meals prepared with foods produced by Massachusetts farms.  Many also have special activities conducting taste tests, serving local snacks at parents’ night, or inviting farmers to campus. Harvest Week is coordinated by the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, based in Amherst, Mass.  For more information, visit www.massfarmtoschool.org.

Resources:

Not All School Lunches Are Created Equal

What’s For Lunch?
By CISA

As students of all ages go back to school this month, they all have one thing in common-school lunch. Not all school lunches are created equal, and some have come a long way from the days of mystery meat. As Local Hero members, several local schools and colleges are making great efforts to be sure that their students are eating healthier meals made with locally grown produce. UMass Amherst recently won the prestigious Ivy Award for excellence in food service-largely earned from their commitment to integrating fresh, local produce into the menu. Likewise, Northfield Mount Hermon, a private boarding school in Gill, not only makes it a priority to purchase locally-grown produce; they grow a portion of their cafeteria food on their school farm! At Northfield Mount Hermon, knowing where cafeteria food comes from is part of the curriculum, culture, and practice of the institution.

September 22-27th marks the second annual Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week. This week-long event is organized by the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, and is designed to highlight the work that schools all over Massachusetts are doing to serve local food to their students, and to help more schools get started serving local foods. Most schools will participate by serving up local fare and inviting local legislators and farmers to share the meal. Some schools may take field trips to local farms to find out exactly where their lunch comes from. Seeds of Solidarity Education Center, Inc. will celebrate the week by sowing 2,008 seeds in the school gardens they’ve helped to create.  Read the rest of this entry »

School Cafeteria’s Serving Up Local Food In MA

Mass Harvest for Mass Students Week Wrap-up

The first ever Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week, organized by the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, was a celebration of locally grown food in schools across the state. The week’s goals were to highlight the work that schools all over Massachusetts are already doing to serve local food to their students, and to help more schools get started. We would like to highlight some of the wonderful, fun ways that cafeteria staffs, students, farmers and school administrators participated in this special, festive week.

Schools across the Commonwealth found new ways to showcase the importance of incorporating local foods into schools throughout the week. Somerville Public School students found themselves shucking corn alongside school administrators in preparation for a school lunch showcasing local corn, pears, melon, apples, tomatoes, and zucchini. In Chicopee, where cafeterias regularly feature potato wedges cut from fresh, local potatoes, the students enjoyed another treat: their food service director, teachers, and administrators dancing around in veggie costumes!

The week gave many districts, like Chicopee and Worchester, the opportunity to get the word out about their ongoing relationships with local farmers, while roughly thirty school districts took advantage of the chance to test the waters of buying locally.

Cafeterias were not the only locations to see some local food action, as a variety of other programs were conducted throughout the week. The Wood School in Plainville, MA held an assembly that featured a performance group called FoodPlay, which had kids dancing and laughing while learning about the importance of eating healthy foods. And at Gateway Regional School, special education students took a field trip to a local orchard where they got to tour the farm and pick their own apples.

Approximately 100 Massachusetts school districts and colleges put local foods on their menus for the Mass Harvest for Students Week. According to Kelly Erwin, Managing Consultant for the Mass Farm to School Project, schools that buy locally often see a financial benefit because more students buy school lunches as the meals become more appetizing. Worcester Public Schools, for example, have seen a fifteen percent increase in school lunch purchases since the district began buying locally. But these benefits aren’t limited to the schools-the 50 farms providing products to local schools in Massachusetts are generating more than $700,000 in additional revenue each year. To date there are more than 85 public school districts and 13 colleges across the state serving local food on a regular basis.

For more information about the Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week or the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, please click here or contact Kelly Erwin at kelerwin@localnet.com or 413-253-3844.


(c)2007 CISA Farm to School Monthly Newsletter. Reprinted with permission.

%d bloggers like this: