HELENA – Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau announced today that the Montana Office of Public Instruction has received a $25,000 farm to school grant to better connect school cafeterias and students with local farmers and ranchers.
The agency will use the training grant to support the Montana Farm to School Summit September 22-23, 2016 in Bozeman, Montana. The state agency is one of 74 projects spanning 39 states receiving support this year through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm to School Program.
“Montana schools are in an excellent position to be able to offer locally or regionally-grown foods,” Superintendent Juneau said. “Students continue to have access to nutritious foods and learn healthy eating habits, while at the same time schools are able to support the state’s farmers and ranchers.”
Montana Farm to School Coordinator Aubree Roth said now is a perfect time for this boost from the USDA because farm to school programs are now sprouting up all over the state.
“Every year we have more schools that are serving local foods, gardening with students, taking farm field trips, and hosting taste tests,” Roth said. “We have incredibly creative schools in our state that are tackling big farm to school projects on very small budgets. One example is Cascade School District, whose staff and students are working on cross-disciplinary project to build vertical hydroponics systems to grow fresh vegetables for the school’s salad.”
The Office of Public Instruction will feature such innovative programs at the Montana Farm to School Summit to support K-12 schools and early childcare sites. The summit’s field trips, workshops, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities will provide attendees with the inspiration, resources, and information necessary to launch or grow farm to school programs in their own communities.
Source: Office of Public Instruction