Harvest of the Month: Expanding in Massachusetts Schools

 

Students Eating Lunch

A student from Boston Public Schools tries local apples.

If you’re familiar with the Massachusetts Farm-to-School program, you are probably aware that it encourages serving local produce as part of school meals across the state. Under the Harvest of the Month program, a Massachusetts-based campaign run by the Farm to School program, seasonal fruits or vegetables are featured at least twice per month to add a colorful, enticing boost to school meals.

Starting this school year, Massachusetts grown foods available to school cafeterias will include kale (in November 2014), butternut squash (in February 2015) as well as dairy (in March 2015) – all sourced by local farmers. Students can look forward to trying these healthy and local fresh fruits and vegetables as part of their favorite lunches!

Worcester kindergardener eating local carrot pancakes

A Worcester kindergartener tastes local carrot pancakes.

This new program allows students to gain exposure to a variety of local produce they may not have encountered before. The Massachusetts Farm-to-School also provides pamphlets, stickers, and posters to further encourage students and community members to support the collaborative effort of local farms and school nutrition professionals.

Last year, the Harvest of the Month’s 6-month pilot program reached 801 public schools as well as colleges and universities, making it a great success! The program was so successful, that starting next year it has expanded to 12 months, reaching more schools, colleges and summer programs across the state.

Interested in learning more about this program? If so, please visit: The Harvest of the Month Website. Also, visit JSI’s Resource Center for recipes to incorporate new fruits and vegetables as well as additional ways to source local produce.

Here’s to healthy eating!

~ blog provided by Eliana Lakritz, B.S., FSU Food and Nutrition Graduate Student