(DES MOINES) Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today said that five year old Iowa Farm to School program now has twenty-three chapters operating across the state that reached an additional 13,000 students in 2012.
The Iowa Farm to School Program began in 2007 and is managed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The goals of the program are to link elementary, secondary, public and non-public schools with Iowa farmers; provide schools with fresh and minimally processed Iowa-grown food for inclusion in schools meals and snacks; and encourage children to develop healthy eating habits.
The twenty-three Farm to School Chapters have undertaken a variety of activities, such as local food procurement programs, that are personalized to meet their district’s individual needs. Approved chapters are eligible to receive up to a $4,000 start-up grant to support activities that help achieve the program goals.
To help promote Iowa growers and the specialty crops they produce, the Department has also created an online Fruit and Vegetable Farm Directory. The directory is available to anyone looking for Iowa grown fruits and vegetables.
Schools or communities interested in learning more about the Iowa Farm to School program can visit www.IowaAgriculture.gov and click on the “Farm to School Program” link under “Hot Topics.”