October is Farm to School Month, prompting observations across the state, with emphasis on local food in many schools

School districts throughout Kentucky will hold special events throughout October to celebrate Farm to School Month.

“Farm to School helps Kentucky students get access to fresh, nutritious local foods that will help them to grow up strong and healthy,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said in a news release. “At the same time, Farm to School enables farmers to tap into a local market for their products.”

A few of the celebrations include:

  • Grant County’s middle and high schools are roasting pumpkins as a side dish and toasting pumpkin seeds for their salad bars. The elementary schools will roast pumpkins as their “Try Day” Friday special Oct. 18. The schools will have coloring contests.
  • Barren County’s Future Farmers of America chapter, culinary arts students, staff, and farmers’ market will host a hog roast Oct. 10. County schools will serve all-local lunches on Oct. 24, and Red Cross Elementary will hold a Farm to School event on Oct. 17.
  • Wayne County is serving local lunches in all schools. Students worked a garden at the high school that produced 85 percent of the food for the district.
  • In Fayette County, Sandersville Elementary School will serve local foods daily the week of Oct. 14, with side salads made from lettuce and apples from Reed Valley Orchard in Paris. Rosa Parks Elementary will serve local foods daily the week of Oct. 28.

The Farm to School program also runs the Junior Chef program, a statewide competition of high-school culinary teams. The regional champions of this competition compete in a state tournament in August at the state fair. This year’s winner was Montgomery County (Mount Sterling).

During Farm to School month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will measure activities and trends in the Farm to School movement. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture encourages local school food authorities to complete the census, due by Nov. 4. For more information, contact your USDA Farm to School regional lead person or send an email to farmtoschool@fns.usda.gov.