October is "National Farm to School" Month. To celebrate, and also to provide fun learning activities for students, the Iowa Department of Agriculture will be offering contests and classroom supplies throughout the month! To learn more about the "Iowa Farm to School" program and other opportunities available to celebrate Farm to School Month you can visit iowaagriculture.gov/AgDiversification/farmToSchoolProgram.asp.
To start out the month of activities, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is encouraging Iowa schools to consider participating in the "A is for Apple" initiative and also the Midwest Great Apple Crunch. These activities will help young students celebrate and learn more about local foods and the farmers who grow them.
Iowa ag department's Farm to School reaches youngsters
"We are now in the midst of apple picking season and these two initiatives are a great opportunity for students to try Iowa-grown apples," Northey notes. "The Iowa Farm to School program initiatives like these two do indeed help schools continue to expand the availability of locally grown fruits and vegetables for students."
The Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's Farm to School program has funds available for the "A is for Apple" initiative. The "A is for Apple" initiative will assist up to 40 classrooms in purchasing fresh, locally grown apples from an orchard in their area while they are in season.
A portion of the funds may also be used to purchase frozen apples that can be eaten anytime during the year. Iowa Choice Harvest is a 100% Iowa-owned company that freezes and packages 100% fresh Iowa-grown products without the use of added sodium or sugars. They offer 21 different varieties of apples, including some heirloom varieties, in each package of apple slices.
Participating schools will also receive classroom supplies
Schools participating in the initiative will also receive classroom supplies such as books, cookbooks or apple corers and Iowa Choice Harvest will provide an apple tasting event for one lucky school. The deadline to sign up for the "A is for Apple" initiative is Thursday, October 1, 2015.
In addition to "A is for Apple," all Iowa schools are also encouraged to participate in the "Midwest Great Apple Crunch" on October 22, 2015. Schools from across the Midwest will be celebrating local foods and the people growing that food. The students will celebrate by taking a bite out of a locally grown apple during the event. Classrooms interested in participating can register at bit.ly/MidwestAppleCrunch.
Iowa ag department also offering activities during October
During October National Farm to School Month, "the Iowa Department of Agriculture will help celebrate, by offering contests and classroom supplies throughout the month," says Northey. Again, to learn more about the Iowa Farm to School program and other opportunities available to help celebrate Farm to School Month you are encouraged to visit iowaagriculture.gov/AgDiversification/farmToSchoolProgram.asp.