Hoover City Schools goes farm to table with USDA program
HOOVER, Ala. (WBRC) - Hoover City Schools students and staff have new options for fruits and vegetables.
The Hoover City Schools District (HCS) is participating in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm to School Program, which promotes providing fresh, healthy, homegrown food options to students.
HCS Child Nutrition Program Director Melinda Bonner says this year the child nutrition program is able to get local produce through a Birmingham distributor to all 16 school sites.
Bonner said, “We’re excited to partner with local farmers in Alabama. The Department of Agriculture has promoted Farm to School for many years, and this year we’ve been able to reach out and source local peaches from J. Durbin Farms in Clanton, Alabama; cherry tomatoes from Chandler Mountain in Steele, Alabama; and watermelon from Haynes Farms in Cullman, Alabama. It means a lot to us to use our funds to support local farmers in the state and educate the students on where their food is grown. These foods we’re bringing in seasonally also have more nutritional benefits.”
According to the National Farm to School Network, the purpose of the Farm to School Program is to enrich the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by enhancing food purchasing and education practices at schools.
Bridget Thomas, cafeteria manager at Bluff Park Elementary School, said, “I love it because it lets kids eat different food they may not get at home. I think it’s a great way to feed kids and take care of our Alabama farmers. I’ve heard from the farmers, and they tell me how they appreciate it, and it helps them.”
According to the USDA, since the Farm to School Program’s inception in 2013, the department has awarded nearly $75 million in Farm to School Grants, funding more than 1,000 projects across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
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