I often get confused looks when I talk about how interconnected farm-to-school initiatives are with children’s health and wellness. But let me assure you, they are connected conversations. Today, people, including youth, are not familiar with where their food comes from. This disconnect sparks curiosity about who made their food, how they made it, how they protect our resources and if the animals are treated well.
All of these questions fit within the broadening definition of health and wellness — one that goes beyond physical health to a more holistic approach that includes the health of people, communities and the environment.
Helping youth connect to the origin of food is as important to their well-being and future as is teaching them about food’s highest purpose to sustain life. Educating children on the importance of modern agriculture to feed a growing population as well as ensuring they understand their own role in reducing food waste and over-consumption is a part of the discussion for a better tomorrow. We have the opportunity to share how each of us can honor the harvest.
To highlight innovative farm to school approaches, the GENYOUth Foundation has created a Farm to School Brief that showcases the amazing things schools can do to embrace farm to school -- from helping get more milk to food banks in need, to smoothie testing with local fruits and dairy, to learning how to compost. Not only do over 42,000 schools have farm-to-table programs, but they also are being largely driven by student ideas, innovations and solutions. Read more (see page 2) to get inspired and involved here.
Please join me in raising awareness of how farm to school is about more than a visit to a farm or a school garden — it’s about the intersection and interdependency of agriculture, nutrition and food. The future health of people as well as the health of the earth depend on our engagement. Together, we can help youth be part of solutions for a better future.
Image courtesy of USDA.