Courtesy Massachusetts Farm to SchoolCafeteria workers at Westfield Public Schools in Westfield, Mass., show some of the produce from growers in their state who participate in the Massachusetts Farm to School Project.Massachusetts students from kindergarten through college are set to eat and learn about fresh produce grown in the state during the seventh annual Harvest for Students Week as part of the state’s Farm to School Project.
School district participation in the Farm to School Project increased more than 10-fold since 2004, growing from less than 20 districts to more than 230 for the 2012 school year, according to a news release. The number of farms selling directly to school and college foodservice operations stood at 114 in 2012.
“Bringing local foods into cafeterias ensures that all young people, regardless of circumstances, have access to healthy, delicious, locally grown foods,” Farm to School Project director Kelly Erwin said in the release.
From Sept. 30-Oct. 4, schools across the state will not only serve Massachusetts-produced food, they will invite growers into classrooms and cafeterias, according to the release. Co-sponsors of the week include the state Department of Agricultural Resources.
Events planned for Harvest Week include a ribbon-cutting for a new salad bar at Peabody School in Cambridge.
Growers participating include Joe Czajkowski, of Czajkowski Farm in Hadley, who will donate grab bags of local produce to Chicopee Public School District students. Students in Mendon-Upton schools will have apples and pears from Lanni Orchards, Lunenburg, and Waltham Fields Community Farm will provide zucchini and summer squash to students in Waltham schools.