Commissioner Hugh Weathers: National Farm to School Month

October is National Farm to School Month.  Can you discuss why this is program is important to South Carolina’s schools and farmers?  

  • October was designated as National Farm to School Month by Congress in 2010 as a time to celebrate the importance of farm to school programs, which improve child nutrition, educate children on where food comes from and support the local economy.
  • In South Carolina, Farm to School is part of South Carolina Farm to Institution, which is a joint effort of DHEC, the S.C. Department of Agriculture, the S.C. Department of Education, and the S.C. Department of Social Services, as well as Clemson University.
  • There are 1203 Schools in SC that were more than 1.5 million meals per school day
  • 76% of South Carolina Schools surveyed are serving SC Grown
  • 80% of South Carolina Schools surveyed have a fruit or vegetable garden
  • 46% of SC Schools surveyed are interested in learning more about how to purchase locally sourced foods
  • South Carolina Farm to Institution encourages both children and adults to take part in celebrating National Farm to School Month.
  • Join others across the state on October 27 and participate in Make Your Plate SC Grown.
  • The purpose of this day is to celebrate South Carolina agriculture and support our local farms.
  • Try a new dish or make one of your favorite recipes using South Carolina produce.
  • However you choose to participate, share your story by registering online. Don’t forget to post a photo of your SC Plate on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #mycertifiedplate.
  • Additional ways to celebrate National Farm to School Month
  • Families:
    • Visit a local farmers market or roadside stand.
    • Prepare recipes using South Carolina produce.
    • Visit a local farm.
    • Start a garden and refer to the South Carolina Garden Toolkit for tips.
  • Farmers
    • Connect with your local school and offer to conduct a classroom session during October or offer to host a visit to your farm.
    • Become a classroom pen pal. Farm field trips are great, but stories and photos from the farm are the next best thing.
    • Promote National Farm to School Month on your farm or at your farmers’ market booth with posters and other materials, which can be downloaded at org.
  • To learn more about National Farm to School Month and South Carolina Farm to Institution, visit the website, scfarmtoinstitution.com