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Farm to School Workshop Promotes Using Locally Grown Food

Getting locally grown food into schools and other institutions is the goal of a workshop sponsored by the University of Missouri Extension and the Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more…

Farmers, food service providers and others gathered at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center today to learn how to get food from area farms into classrooms, hospitals and other institutions.They saw examples of school districts with active farm to school programs and got the chance to talk with others who are interested in using more locally grown food where they work.Bill McKelvey, the Missouri Farm to Institution project coordinator for University of Missouri Extension, says, by using more locally grown food in institutions, access to fresh fruits and vegetables is increased and new market opportunities are created for farmers.He says, currently, only about 10 percent of school districts in Missouri are doing something with locally grown food…

"There's a lot of progress that can be made and there's still a lot of work to do yet to make it sort of easier and to make locally grown foods more accessible to schools and other institutions."

He says one challenge to using locally grown food is simply transporting it from place to place…

"We have a very efficient system in place in the country to move food from, say, California, Florida, Texas, to all over the country, but we lack a similar type of system to move food, say, from Greene County to Springfield Public Schools."

He hopes that by hosting the farm to school workshops, more people will become interested in the infrastructure and distribution side and work on those challenges.Deby Inskeep, food service director for Spokane schools, attended the workshop…

"I would like to find out how to get more fresh fruits and vegetables locally available to our school kids."

She says they currently have a Department of Defense contract that brings in fresh fruits and vegetables, but she’d like to see her district use more locally grown food.She imagines future field trips where students could see where the food they eat at school comes from.The farm to school workshop in Springfield is the last of four that have been held across Missouri.To learn more, visit www.hcrc.missouri.edu/farmtoschool.For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.