The Farm to School Program: Improving Children’s Health and Local Food Systems
Willits Economic Localization (WELL) is hosting an event on Sunday, October 8, as part of its Building Community series. The event will feature guest speaker Pamela Lee from the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Farm to School program. Lee will discuss a new $60 million grant program that aims to improve children’s health and local food systems in Willits.
The Farm to School program focuses on providing students with healthy and fresh foods in schools. While the state already provides two free meals per day to all school kids, this new funding opportunity goes beyond basic nutrition and aims to instill good habits and skills in children, such as how to grow their own food. Additionally, the program benefits the local farm economy by building connections between local producers and school district buyers.
The grants provided by the program can be used for various purposes, including providing students with locally sourced foods, creating new jobs through cooking from scratch in school cafeterias, establishing school gardens, and offering direct-learning opportunities in growing and cooking food. The ultimate goal is to ensure that every child has knowledge about food cultivation and nutrition.
WELL invites parents, school administrators, kitchen staff, school board members, and the public to participate in creating and maintaining these programs. The organization aims to foster collaboration, share information, and work toward a more resilient and thriving town.
The event, which will be held at the Little Lake Grange, is free of charge, although donations to offset costs are encouraged. To support WELL’s sustainability activities, individuals can join the organization by making a donation through PayPal or sending a check to the specified address.
This event is part of WELL’s ongoing efforts to build community and connect individuals and groups. By joining or renewing membership with WELL, individuals can contribute to the organization’s endeavors throughout the year.
The Farm to School program offers a promising opportunity to improve children’s health, support local farmers, and strengthen the community. By providing fresh and nutritious meals, teaching gardening and cooking skills, and fostering connections between schools and local food producers, this program can have a lasting impact on Willits and its residents.