Farm to School Conference highlights local foods in schools

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HAMPTON—School nutritionists, farmers and others interested in increasing local foods in schools will gather March 14 for the Virginia Farm to School Conference.

The conference will take place at the Hampton Roads Convention Center and is designed to help Virginia’s expanding Farm to School Network increase procurement of local foods and educational opportunities in school gardens, cafeterias, classrooms, early care centers and summer feeding programs.

“A goal is to bring school nutritionists and those who grow the food together to discuss the logistics of how to get more local foods in schools,” explained Tammy Maxey, senior education manager for Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom and a regional team lead for the Virginia Farm to School Network. “A goal of the program is to get all sides involved so children can learn more about healthy foods in Virginia and sample new foods they might want to try at home.”

Speakers include Virginia’s first lady, Pamela Northam, and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. Virginia AITC will have a presence at the conference as a sponsor and will debut two Healthy Harvest Maps that will be distributed to schools across the state.

“The idea behind the maps is to remind students about where their food comes from,” Maxey explained. One map is an outline of Virginia and shows where different foods are grown. The other highlights a different fruit or vegetable for each month of the year.

“Teachers can go to our website and learn more about the Healthy Harvest of the Month item. Each month includes more information about the crop, along with activities that can be done in the classroom,” she explained. “It crosses from the school cafeteria to the classroom teacher and helps reinforce agriculture in the classroom.”

For conference details, visit Registration is free, but space is limited.

Media: Contact Maxey at 804-290-1143.

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