October is National Farm to School Month
Cincinnati, OH -- Greater Cincinnati school districts are joining schools across the nation to celebrate National Farm to School Month this October. National Farm to School Month celebrates the connections happening all over the country between children and local food. Local schools are incorporating food from Ohio farms into special events throughout the month that highlight locally sourced food options and hands-on nutrition education.
Cincinnati Public Schools, Edgewood City Schools, Little Miami Local School District, Loveland City School District and Sycamore City Schools are celebrating by crunching into a variety of Ohio grown apples as part of the fifth annual Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch taking place at noon on Thursday, October 11. Organized by the National Farm to School Network, school districts in Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana will participate. The event encourages healthy eating and supports farm to school and local food initiatives throughout the Great Lakes Region.
The apples for the Crunch are coming from Eshleman Fruit Farm. “It's an important lifeline for small farming businesses to have the opportunity to serve schools,” said Jeff Eshleman of Eshleman Fruit Farm. “We've heard from many school cafeterias that their children begin eating more apples during lunch periods because the apples taste fantastic. Farm to School fruit is an effective way for schools to add great tasting whole foods to the menus for their students and support area businesses. And it keeps Ohio taxes in Ohio, not out to West Coast growers!"
All of the crops used during National Farm to School Month come from Ohio farms and most are within 100 miles of the school district. Some of the participating farms include: Eshleman Fruit Farm, Fox Tail Farm, Freedom Farm, That Guy’s Family Farm and Turner Farm. Other school districts participating in Farm to School Month include: Forest Hills School District, Lakota Local School District, Mason City Schools, The Children’s Home and West Clermont Local Schools.
"Cincinnati Public Schools is excited to be partnering with the Ohio Valley Food Hub Project to offer locally grown produce in their school meal programs,” said Jessica Shelly, Food Services Director with Cincinnati Public Schools. “When presented with the opportunity to support Eshleman Fruit Farm and participate in the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch, Cincinnati Public Schools recognized when they purchase local foods, it triggers even more local economic activity that creates benefits for our communities beyond our school lunchrooms."
The Ohio Valley Food Hub Project, a USDA-funded project of Green Umbrella, is leading the effort for the region. Launched in 2017, the project works to provide a convenient and efficient local food distribution solution for both farmers and institutions. The project addresses the need for better market opportunities for local farms and better access for consumers to fresh, healthy, local food in the Greater Cincinnati region. Individuals, schools and businesses can purchase local food year-round through food hubs or direct from farmers and food artisans. If just 10% of our region’s population shifts 10% of their food budget to local foods, that will infuse over $56 million into our local economy.
Celebrating 20 years as Greater Cincinnati’s hub for environmental sustainability. Act locally with Green Umbrella and make a difference. Learn more or become a member at www.greenumbrella.org
For more information contact:
Anne Schneider, Anne@greenumbrella.org
Local Food Consultant, Green Umbrella