Grown Here at Home: Farm to School Month activities planned for Roanoke City students

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 7:51 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - With October being National Farm to School Month, kids in Roanoke will learn how their food is grown, meet local farmers, and taste food grown right here at home.

In July of 2020, LEAP, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Roanoke City Public Schools and food service vendor SodexoMagic received a USDA Farm to School Planning Grant. They started an advisory committee with parents, teachers, administrators, and people in the community.

“It’s a planning grant, so really we’re just looking at what is possible and what it takes to get some of these initiatives off the ground, and then the idea is to develop an action plan that the city public schools in partnership with community organizations could use in order to continue the momentum forward on Farm to School,” said Maureen McGonagle, director of regional partnerships for LEAP.

Eventually, they’d like to see the program in all 26 schools in Roanoke City. For now, they’re starting at Highland Park Elementary, Hurt Park Elementary and Lucy Addison Middle School.

“Through our vendor SodexoMagic, they’ve been able to procure local produce from our farmers throughout the valley. They’ve been able to purchase apples, hydroponic lettuce, berries, sweet potatoes, and they’ve been able to offer that throughout our different child nutrition programs,” said Roanoke City Public Schools Director of Food Services Ellen Craddock.

The Farm to School Roanoke website is full of resources for teachers and parents. There are Harvest of the Month videos that teach kids about fruits and vegetables and include simple recipes they can help make at home.

“It really helps kids to understand the seasonality of foods, the science behind food and nature and how things in the environment around them are changing,” explained Kim Butterfield, Virginia Cooperative Extension family and consumer science agent.

There are several Farm to School Month activities planned that are also listed on the website They’d love for you to take your kids out so they can learn about what’s grown right here at home.

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