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Students encouraged to ‘make some noise’ in support of local agriculture

Students will participate in a celebration of local agriculture as they observe the 10th annual Virginia Farm to School Week this week.

The event connects schools with local farmers and food hubs, and provides opportunities to educate students about agriculture’s impact and the importance of consuming fresh, healthy foods.

With many students attending school virtually this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration will mainly be held online.

The Virginia Department of Education will host a virtual Crunch Heard ‘Round the Commonwealth today, inviting youth to enjoy Virginia-grown apples in support of local agriculture.

“In the past, schools would have a special event where children would bite into an apple to make some noise for Virginia Farm to School Week,” said Trista Grigsby, VDOE farm to school specialist. “Farm to School Week is always happening, and we’re always going to be encouraging schools and divisions to participate in any way they can.”

Students also can participate in Crunch Heard ‘Round the Commonwealth with poster contests, virtual farm tours and online meetings with Virginia farmers. Educators and families are encouraged to share photos of their activities on social media using the hashtags #FarmtoSchool, #VACrunch and #VaAITC.

Partnering with VDOE, Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom has prepared educational materials for Virginia Farm to School Week. Interested educators can find lesson information on AITC’s Facebook page. New content will be shared on Facebook each Tuesday and Thursday throughout October, which is recognized as National Farm to School Month.

Additional educational resources can be found in AITC’s Harvest of the Week Nutrition Connection, a collection of activities that celebrate Virginia agriculture.

“Virginia Farm to School Week provides a unique opportunity for educators to highlight the wide variety of foods grown in Virginia,” said Tammy Maxey, AITC programs director. “Despite all the challenges caused by the pandemic, farmers and schools remain committed to providing children with nutritious meals that consist of many locally grown commodities. Throughout the month of October, we will be recognizing these key contributors.”

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