How many healthy lunches do you remember eating in elementary school? Students in Conway do it every day.
Governor Asa Hutchinson proclaimed October Arkansas Farm to School Month.
It’s a nationwide effort to connect schools with local farms and the goal is to provide children healthy meals in cafeterias while improving nutrition.
“They get to harvest carrots, sweat potatoes, and okra right now,” said Sarah Lane, an AmeriCorps Teacher at Carolyn Lewis Elementary in Conway.
She’s helping to expand the way kids learn with a hands-on approach. Students at Carolyn Lewis have had their school garden for nearly two years.
“We get to connect their involvement to the curriculum. So, we make sure we’re hitting science, literacy and math standards out here,” Lane said.
All elementary schools in the Conway School District are a part of the Farm to School program.
The program aims to provide fun and educational opportunities for students to learn about agriculture, health, nutrition and science.
“We’re getting them out of their seats, they’re getting to really touch the soil and learn about the animals and bacteria that might be in it,” said Lane.
Fourth grade students helped to design the garden and all 550 kids who attend are involved in planting whatever grows.
Schools are connected to local farms in hopes of changing food purchasing and education practices.
“When they learn about local food and grow their own fruits and vegetables, we’re hoping they’re more likely to eat them in the cafeteria,” said Lane.
Over 42,000 schools have joined the Farm to School movement across the country.
192 schools in Arkansas alone serve over 95,000 students.
“They’re excited that they’re planting the seed and getting to see it grow all the way through the growing season,” Lane said.
Farm to School benefits over 23 million students each year.
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