Posted by Liam O'Kennedy September 28, 2012 10:00 AM
The following was submitted by The Trustees of Reservations:
The vegetables on the menu at schools in Beverly and Salem could not be more fresh or grown much closer, thanks to a new relationship with Beverly’s own Moraine Farm, a historic agricultural property now owned by The Trustees of Reservations. Since the beginning of the school year, students have been enjoying a salad bar filled with fresh, nutritious local farm produce including tomatoes, peppers, beets, and carrots. As fall gets underway, the lunch menu will expand to incorporate lettuce, spinach, leeks, potatoes, and broccoli.
The partnership represents a growing trend in Massachusetts and beyond, where schools are implementing new requirements for more fruits and vegetables in school meals and a greater awareness of the benefits of local agriculture are fostering farm to school relationships. Over 200 public school districts report preferentially purchasing locally grown foods. With the state just recently passing measures regulating the sale of "competitive foods" (snack food that might replace an otherwise healthy lunch option) in schools, this positive nutrition movement is poised to continue.
“Bringing fresh, locally grown foods into school cafeterias is a very effective way to ensure that students of all ages and circumstances have exposure and access to healthy food that tastes good,” says Kelly Erwin, Director of the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, a statewide organization that fosters relationships between farms and schools and other institutions. “Farm to School is a win-win-win for Massachusetts students, farmers, and our school food service providers.”
“Providing our fresh produce to the local schools is a great way for us to connect young people with agriculture and create an increased awareness of where their food comes from,” adds Moraine Farm Manager, Gretta Anderson. “Our hope is that not only will these students be exposed to a variety of healthy food options, but that they will also want to engage with local community farms like Moraine Farm where they can learn even more about local sustainable agriculture.”
Anderson hopes that serving produce in the Beverly and Salem school cafeterias is the start of a partnership that will also grow to include visits to Moraine Farm by Beverly and Salem students. For those interested in getting out to the farm even earlier, an Open House will be held on Saturday, September 29, 10 AM - 3 PM. FREE and open to all, the Open House will feature a farm stand where the public can buy fall veggies, offer walking tours of the farm with the local farmers and provide a daylong lineup of activities including historic tours, short films, children's play activities, zip-line rides, and bread making. Guests are encouraged to bring their own picnics and explore the grounds.
For more information about Moraine Farm, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ttor.org/morainefarm. Information about the Moraine Farm Open House can be found at http://morainefarmbeverly.org/.
For information about Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week or the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, visit www.massfarmtoschool.org or call 413-253-3844.
About The Trustees of Reservations:
Founded in 1891, The Trustees of Reservations is the nation’s oldest regional land trust and Massachusetts’ largest non-profit conservation organization. The organization’s mission is to hold in “trust” and “preserve, for public use and enjoyment,” “reservations,” or properties, of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts.” For over 120 years, The Trustees have worked to conserve the natural, cultural and scenic character that makes Massachusetts’ landscapes and communities unique. The Trustees own and manage 108 properties, totaling more than 27,000 acres, serve more than one million visitors each year. Supported by over 100,000 member families, generous donors and over 1,500 volunteers annually, The Trustees work to foster healthy, active, and green communities, with an emphasis on encouraging sustainable, local agriculture and urban and suburban community gardens throughout Massachusetts. For more information visit www.thetrustees.org.