Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared the month of October “Farm to School Month” in an attempt to encourage local schools and education centers to partner with farms to “bring local, healthy food to children.”
Suggested activities for schools, according to a news release, include starting a salad bar with local ingredients, having gardens, planning trips to farms or local markets and adding hands-on learning opportunities to the classroom. The release also suggests that families try to cook with locally produced products and farms should give presentations at schools or invite students for tours of their facilities.
“School gardens create valuable teaching experiences, because they incorporate hands-on activities with lessons in food production and proper nutrition and the overall importance of agriculture,” Hutchinson said in the release. “I commend the efforts of educators and partners engaged in making our communities healthier through student-led food initiatives like school gardens.”
Fort Smith School District does not have any specific plans related to “Farm to School Month,” said Zena Featherston Marshall, executive director of communication. The district’s Vision 2023 plan, however, includes a wellness section.
This section says that Fort Smith students will receive support to ensure they are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.
“That’s one of those pieces that is a little further out on the action plan, so it’s not something that they’re looking at doing in a specific speed,” Featherston Marshall said.
The district recently received a commendation as a “Five to Thrive” district for its efforts in implementing physical activity and nutrition programs.