by Rochelle Davis, HSC Founding Executive Director
I recently came across a job posting for a Farm-to-School Coordinator for the state of Washington. What a good idea! How sensible, with today’s concerns about childhood obesity and high energy prices, to prioritize farm to school programs and hire a coordinator to ensure that the initiatives are successful and effective.
What do childhood obesity and high energy prices have to do with each other?
As the position description says, “This position will lead the new state Farm-to-School Program (created by SB 6483) to increase the purchase of Washington-grown foods by Washington schools, thereby improving student nutrition and benefiting local farmers.”
Schools, farmers, public health advocates and policy makers are beginning to recognize the value of local procurement programs to bring the freshest, healthiest fruit and vegetables to our children at school.
As we all know, getting children to eat more fruits and vegetables is an important challenge in combating the obesity epidemic — and what better way than to provide them with the freshest and most tasty produce available?
In addition to the benefits for student nutrition, we know that local procurement (or “farm to school”) programs benefit local economies and support local farmers.
Since most food travels more than 3,000 miles from farm to plate, these initiatives are taking on even greater importance. With food prices raising as a result of higher transportation costs, local procurement programs are increasingly making the most economic sense for schools.
We applaud the state of Washington for recognizing the many benefits of farm to school programs and taking the very sensible step of making local procurement a priority.