Federal, State, Local Leaders Kick off the 10th Annual Maryland Homegrown School Lunch Week at Crellin Elementary School in Garrett County
ANNAPOLIS, MD (Sept. 26, 2017) – Governor Larry Hogan has designated September 25-29 as Maryland Homegrown School Lunch Week, a time when schools across the state help students understand where their food comes from. Students in public schools across the state will get a taste of fresh, Maryland-grown and produced food in their lunches during the week.
"Agriculture is an integral part of Maryland’s history, culture, and economy, and it remains our state’s number one industry to this day,” said Governor Hogan. “Our administration is proud to provide opportunities for students to learn "where our food comes from, and how vital agriculture is to our state and our quality of life. We are extremely encouraged that the majority of our 24 public school systems participate in this nutritional and educational program that also supports our farmers through the purchase of locally-grown products in school meals."
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Maryland Homegrown School Lunch Week. At today’s statewide kickoff event, Principal Dr. Dana McCauley, along with students and teachers at Crellin Elementary School, hosted Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder; Garrett County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Baker; and USDA Food Nutrition Services Mid-Atlantic Regional Office Special Nutrition Programs Director Roberta Hodsdon. The students led guests on a tour of the school’s “Sunshine Farm,” where they experience hands-on work with crops and livestock. Students also had the opportunity to explore the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation’s “Maryland Ag Products” mobile science lab.
After the tour and brief presentations from federal, state and local officials, the invited guests joined students in the school’s cafeteria for a lunch featuring local products. Ms. Barbara Baker, Garrett County Superintendent of Schools stated, “We are honored that Garrett County Schools has the opportunity to kick off Home Grown Farm to School Lunch week. Our schools have excellent partnerships with local agricultural groups and we appreciate the chance to showcase them.”
The menu included hamburgers from a cow raised by Kane Edwards, 4th grader at Crellin Elementary, purchased at the Garrett County Fair and donated to Crellin by Railey Mountain Vacation Rentals. The Butcher Block in Oakland processed the meat, which was also supplied to other Garrett County schools. Cherry tomatoes from Garrett Growers were also served.
“Crellin Elementary is delighted to host this year’s kick-off event. We are proud of the agriculture program we have built and appreciate the support we receive from parents and community partners. Our agriculture projects are designed to incorporate instructional standards in various content areas and daily practices teach sustainability and responsibility. Crellin's ‘Sunshine Farm’, is a great example of a place-based project that gives students real-life experiences,” said Dr. Dana McCauley, Crellin Elementary School Principal.
Maryland Agriculture Secretary Presents Farm to School Citation to Crellin School and Principal.
Mr. Scott Germain, Program Manager of Garrett County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services indicated, “We have worked hard over the past several years to increase our farm to school week from one item to eight items on our menu. Some of those items have found their way onto our menus at other times throughout the year. It is great to work with the local suppliers. The students really enjoy all of the items.”
Governor's proclamation of Maryland Home Grown School Lunch Week Presented to Garrett County.
Other schools across the state have planned various activities to celebrate 2017 Homegrown School Lunch Week. In Caroline County, Lockerman Middle School students will enjoy local blue catfish donated by Congressional Seafood and oysters donated by Madhouse Oysters, and pork sourced from the school’s agricultural class and had it butchered, and the culinary arts students will prepare pork recipes for the taste testing. In Southern Maryland, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties joined to purchase hamburgers, hot dogs, spicy hot dogs and cheeseburgers from Hoffman Meats in Hagerstown. Information about activities in other counties is available on the department’s website.
The Homegrown School Lunch Week, an element of the Jane Lawton Farm to School Program, was signed into law in 2008. More information about Maryland’s Farm to School program, including educational materials, menus, places to find local products, brief video soundbook with photos and interviews, plus much more for parents, teachers, and food service staff, visit the Maryland Farm to School website. For information on the school meals programs, visit the Maryland State Department of Education website.
Maryland spends $18 million dollars annually on local products in school meal. Maryland ranks 9th in the nation with the average school district spending 23 percent of their food budget on local products, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Census.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 formally established a Farm to School Program within USDA to improve access to local foods in schools. In order to establish realistic goals with regard to increasing the availability of local foods in schools, in 2013, USDA conducted the first nationwide Farm to School Census. In 2015, USDA conducted a second Farm to School Census to measure progress towards reaching this goal.
Below are pictures from the 10th Annual Maryland School Lunch Week celebration.
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