On September 11, 2014, Nebraska Governor Heineman will sign a proclamation initiated by the Center for Rural Affairs declaring October 2014 as the state's Farm to School Month. Political figures across the state will be invited to sit at lunch tables and join in a meal with students.
The proclamation reads: “THEREFORE, the state of Nebraska declares October as Farm to School Month, recognizing the nutritional, academic, and economic opportunities local food and school partnerships provide for Nebraskans.”
Food service directors will be incorporating local items into their menus, and highlighting homegrown products with taste tests and cooking demonstrations. Farms will welcome schools for tours. And a full day, statewide Farm to School Summit will be held in Aurora, Nebraska, on October 22.
Leaders across the state are recognizing this celebration. Senator Kowolski of Nebraska’s District 31 states, “We are excited that October will officially be recognized as a celebration of health and economic strides being taken in the state. This work is an obvious validation for efforts from forward-thinking food service directors and farmers, as well as community members, and a positive nod to keep working on the health of our youth and schools, building promise for Nebraska’s rural communities.”
Time and again, food producers and school representatives request a space to be together, talking and learning in order to make farm to school real. The October 22 summit will nurture that need, providing experts on local food procurement, stories from those who are successfully working together to bring homegrown food and lessons to the school table, and opportunities to explore and ask brewing questions.
Local farmer Jeremiah Picard, co-owner of Cook, Grow, Sew says, “The Summit will allow collaboration on the needs of both school and farmer. Working together provides the farmer an ability to determine what and how much food to grow each part of the season.”
Beyond business, Jeremiah states, “The children being educated in Nebraska are the future of our state; we need to do everything in our power to keep them healthy, strong, and well educated. The source of energy to accomplish great feats is great food. Having the ability to provide fresh food to the children of our state is a privilege. Providing access to healthy, nutritious, and local food puts everyone in a position of advantage, from the producers infusing dollars into our economy to children performing on a higher level.”
You can find out more about how to get your state or community involved in Farm to School Month activities at FarmToSchool.org. Discover all the happenings with the Center's Nebraska Farm to School Initiative here.