In Virginia, farm to school efforts ensure that every child in Virginia has equitable access to healthy Virginia grown food, resulting in greater educational performance and improved sustainability for Virginia agriculture and related industries. The Virginia Harvest of the Month campaign launched in 2019 featuring 12 crops that can be harvested during the feature month or stored and used during winter months. Each month contains posters, point-of-sale signs, relevant lesson plans, suggested elementary-level books, family-scale recipes, commercial-scale recipes for school use, and production records. Each school division received at least one set of 12 posters for each school and school nutrition program directors received flash drives containing user guides, supplemental materials, and high-resolution poster reproducibles.
The heart of Virginia farm to school efforts lies in procuring more local products for child nutrition programs and using them to excite and educate students about consuming healthy, locally raised food. Successful farm to school efforts around the Commonwealth benefit from community partnerships and tie classrooms and school gardens to the school nutrition program.
Farm to School Specialist, Virginia Department of Education