BETHLEHEM — Bethlehem Central School District kicked off its ninth annual Farm to You Fest on Monday, opening a week-long celebration of local farms and food held in New York every fall.
The statewide celebration of local farms and food is held each fall to promote the awareness and consumption of healthy, locally sourced and natural foods. The initiative is a coordinated effort between the state, its farmers, school districts and community members.
“At Bethlehem CSD,” said a district spokesperson, “it has been a great tradition and we are pleased to offer this special week in partnership with the Delmar Farmers Market, the Green Team, the Food Service Department and our PTAs and PTOs. We hope your child will enjoy celebrating Farm to You Fest both at school and with you at home; each of our schools participates in different ways but one common theme is the appreciation of fresh produce that is grown locally, so tasty and good for our health!”
All week, all district schools will participate in a produce drive to feed local people in need, as well as enjoy farm-fresh produce and vegetables at lunch. Students are also encouraged to pack fresh healthy snacks to bring to school with them. For lunch on Friday, middle school students will be served salads made with ingredients picked fresh from the school’s garden. And at the Delmar Farmers
Market on Saturday, participating families can turn in their Farmers’ Market Scavenger Hunt checklists (available on the district website) to be entered into a drawing to win a “farm-fresh prize” donated by one of the market’s vendors. (Final deadline to turn a checklist in to the middle school’s main office is Tuesday,
The week-long event is supported by the New York state Department of Agriculture & Markets Farm to School Program, the New York state Education Department Child Nutrition Program, the New York School Nutrition Association and partners on the New York Farm to School Coordinating Committee, a statewide coalition of school food service directors, farmers, health professionals, researchers, educators, parents, government program representatives and others working to increase the use of local foods in schools, colleges, and other educational institutions.
The mission of the Farm to School Program, according to NYS Ag & Markets, “is to increase the consumption of New York-grown and minimally processed foods in schools in order to strengthen local agriculture, improve student health, and promote regional food systems awareness.“
Please visit BCSD’s Healthy Kids Committee web page at http://www.bethlehemschools.org/community/healthy-kids-committee for details regarding additional nutritional programs throughout the year.
In previous years, the state has provided financial support to BCSD for the program, but this year the district is merely using the state-supplied Farm to You posters from the Ag & Markets website.