Farm to School Programs are a great way to provide more local, fresh produce, fruits and nuts for our children’s school food service.
About Winters Farm to School
Winters is a small, rural community surrounded by working farms, some new and some fourth and fifth generations. Over the years these farms and their values have helped to shape and define who we are. Unfortunately today, many of the children in our community have lost their connection to the land and to agriculture. In response, our school cafeterias, with the support of our Winters Farm to School Program, have become a place to champion local agriculture -- to teach our children about where their food comes from and why eating fresh, locally grown food is so vitally important to their long-term health and well-being.
In 2011, members of the Winters community began the Winters Farm to School Program. Our mission has three interrelated emphases: to raise funds to provide fresh, local produce, fruits and nuts for our children’s school food program; to educate our children about the positive, long-term health benefits of healthy eating habits; and to reconnect our children to the rich, deeply rooted agricultural heritage in our community. Our Farm to School Program supports local farmers, boosts our local economy and promotes sustainability for our children to continue farming in our community.
Our program has been effective. With the continued financial support from Winters Farm to School, 97% of the foods served to our students are purchased locally and over 50% of those purchases are directly from Yolo County farmers. This is good for our children, our local economy and our local farmers.
However, as our Farm to School program continued to thrive, there was another serious issue that we wanted to address…and that is hunger. Sadly, one in four children in Yolo County doesn’t have enough food to eat. In our small town, we knew that homelessness was an issue for some of our students. We also knew that for some children, the meals they ate at school were the only meals they ate that day.
That’s part of the reason we host the weekly Kids Farmer’s Market at Waggoner Elementary School. The grocery bag full of nutritious foods that the kids take home every week can mean the difference between being hungry and having enough to eat.