The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Farm to School program continued to see strong growth as school systems across the state added more locally grown fruits and vegetables to school lunch menus. Sales jumped to $1.4 million this school year, up from $1.2 million in 2011-2012, a 16.6 percent increase.
“We have set a new sales record for the Farm to School Program for the second straight year, and I believe we will top $1.5 million in sales next school year,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This year, 92 of the 117 school districts in the state participated in the program, which was also a record. We appreciate the support of child nutrition directors, schools and students in making this program a success.”
Under the program, school systems across the state can order fresh North Carolina produce, which is coordinated and transported to schools by the NCDA&CS Food Distribution and Marketing divisions. Farm-fresh produce offered includes apples, blueberries, broccoli crowns, cabbage, cantaloupes, collards, cucumbers, peaches, romaine lettuce, squash, sprite melons, strawberries, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watermelons and zucchini.
“I am proud that the Farm to School Program will be able to help schools meet new requirements to offer even more healthy options on lunch menus in the coming year,” Troxler said.
In 2012-2013, 1,776 schools participated in the Farm to School program, ordering nearly 1.8 million pounds of fresh North Carolina produce. The program served more than 1 million students this year.
Among the biggest sellers were apples and apple slices, strawberries and sweet potatoes.
For more on the Farm to School program, go to the Farm to School website at www.ncfarmtoschool.com.