The Department of Food and Nutrition Systems at the University of Southern Mississippi recently teamed up with Stone County’s Superintendent Dr. Gwen Miller, and Child Nutrition Director Myra Rayburn, to participate in Mississippi’s Farm to School Week.
Miller, Rayburn and Southern Miss assistant professor Dr. Alicia Landry, promoted a menu that integrated at least one locally grown item each day in lunches served to the students of Stone County School District. Students enjoyed locally grown collard greens, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, lima beans, field peas, and blueberries.
In 2012, the Mississippi State Legislature passed a resolution designating the first full week of October as “Mississippi Farm to School Week,” recognizing the strong role Farm to School plays in promoting good health and strong economies. Farm to School programs have been shown to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among students while increasing revenue for Mississippi farmers.
The resolution was proposed by the Mississippi Food Policy Council (MFPC), a diverse coalition of state and local agriculture and health groups working on improving the connections between local farms and local markets. Several MFPC members hosted events throughout the state during Farm to School Week.
At Stone County Elementary the week kicked off with an assembly where fifth graders learned about eating locally and participated in a taste test of local produce. “Students were sent home with newsletters telling their families about Farm to School Week, and they will receive nutrition education about local fruits and vegetables being served,” said Landry.
For more information about the Southern Miss Department of Nutrition and Food Systems, visit http://www.usm.edu/nutrition