NC

On Tuesday, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, along with North Carolina Department of Agriculture announced a grant to benefit the NC Farm to School program. President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Brad Wilson:

“I’m happy to announce today that BCBS of North Carolina is making a three year $1.2 million investment to support the North Carolina Farm to School program. This grant will support the purchase of five refrigerated tractor trailers and it will put more fresh produce, Norht Carolina produce, on the road to North Carolina schools.” 

North Carolina Ag commissioner Steve Troxler explained what the grant means to the Farm to School program:

“This is an amazing godsend. I think everyone knows how dire the state budget has been and we have actually run the wheels off the ones we have and we need replacements and without this grant there would be no money for that.”
 

The commissioner also detailed what one of the new tractor/trailer rigs will be able to do for schools:

“I want to tell you what these trucks can do. A forty foot tractor trailer can hold about twenty thousand pounds of strawberries that is 197,000 servings. It can carry more than 34,000 pounds of sweet potatoes which is 117,000 servings.”
 

The larger transportation fleet will also allow the Farm to School program to expand, according to Troxler:

“Now we can move more product from the Farms to the Schools. By expanding this Farm to Schools program, we are going to bring more schools into the program, but we are also going to bring more farmers into the program. We have 75 farmers not participating in the program and I would like this to increase dramatically. I look forward to the day when I can say we went past $2 million. I think we can do that.”
 

Wake County schools is one of the largest participants in the Farm to School program. Marilyn Moody is the Senior Director of Child nutrition Services for Wake County Public Schools:

“The steering committee for Farm to School makes sure that the farmers that we use in our program are GAP certified and have the liability insurance to provide us with safe foods for our children.”
 

Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Brad Wilson explains some of the motivation for the Foundation’s grant to the Food to School program:

“The reason we are doing this is because we have an obesity epidemic in our country. We are in crisis mode and this is one small step that is going to make a difference.”
 

Currently there are 76 school systems and 75 farmers from all over North Carolina participating in the Food to School Program. The addition of five tractor/trailers to the fleet will help the program expand.
 


SFNToday.com is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. SFNToday.com presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.

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