Voted Top Farm to School Program in DELAWARE
New Castle, DE, May 24, 2016 – USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service recently awarded Colonial School District a “One in a Melon” award for administering an exemplary farm to school program. One school district per state was selected for the award by receiving the most public nominations.
“Nothing better than being named One in a Melon!” says Paula Angelucci, Supervisor of Nutrition Services
From March 15 – April 15, parents, teachers, community stakeholders, and students were invited to visit USDA’s Farm to School Census website and nominate their favorite farm to school program to receive the award. According to the Census, 24 Delaware districts have farm to school programs, and a total of 5,254 districts participate across the U.S.
Colonial School District has been participating in farm to school since 2010. Colonial school district began by purchasing Delaware grown fruit and vegetables, to now having 5 school gardens and the Penn Farm.
Today, approximately 10,000 children: “are exposed to local foods in their school meals and snacks at Colonial School District every day and also participate in farm to school programming.” In the future, Colonial hopes to expand the number of school gardens and extend the growing season of the Penn Farm. Colonial believes in the sustainability of these programs and has recently hired a Farm to School Manager who will coordinates these efforts.
Farm to school programs help kids form healthy habits, learn where their food comes from, and develop an understanding of the importance of nutrition and agriculture. Results of the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census show that schools with robust farm to school programs report reductions in food waste, higher school meal participation rates, and increased willingness of the students to try new foods, notably fruits and vegetables. Census results also show that U.S. schools invested nearly $800 million in local food from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers in the 2013- 2014 school year, which is money going directly back into local communities.
School food service staff at Colonial School District have noticed a number of benefits to participating in farm to school initiative’s, including increasing accessibility to locally grown products, student acceptability and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.
For more information about Colonial School District’s farm to school program, please contact Paula Angelucci, email@example.com.