KC Healthy Kids Selected as National Farm to School Network Kansas Partner
KC Healthy Kids has been named as the 2017-2019 National Farm to School Network Kansas Core Partner, providing opportunities to expand efforts to connect children to local food, school gardens and food and agriculture education in Kansas.
As the Kansas Core Partner, KC Healthy Kids will build capacity and support for the expansion of farm to school and farm to early care and education efforts in Kansas. It also will serve as a liaison for information, resources, needs and opportunities with the National Farm to School Network. KC Healthy Kids will collaborate on these initiatives with Kansas State Department of Education and Kansas Appleseed, which serves as a National Farm to School Network Kansas Supporting Partner.
"Partnering with the National Farm to School Network and supporting agencies will strengthen our programming and elevate farm to school and early care and education in the state," says Rachael McGinnis Millsap, director, Farm to School Academy, KC Healthy Kids.
"Aligning with state, regional and national initiatives on policy and programming is a great way to reach more kids and their families. It also makes it easier to get more local food into the lunchroom," added Millsap.
Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education settings. Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities.
KC Healthy Kids' Farm to School Academy offers innovative solutions for increasing kids' consumption of fresh, local food. The academy engages school staff and faculty, district stakeholders, parents and students in activities that increase awareness of our local food system and generate excitement about the possibilities of bringing fresher, local food to schools.
The academy engages students, teachers, food services staff and administrators through a variety of ways. At Tasting Local Events, students sample fresh, local foods prepared in exciting new ways. At Ultimate Eat Local Recipe Challenge, kids get creative and learn to make healthy lunch per nutritional guidelines. The Grow a Garden Classroom Curriculum is a toolkit that teaches everything one needs to know about creating a school garden.
Through the Leadership Academy, school food and nutrition services staff gain a better understanding of food systems and culinary techniques, all to help build a more sustainable farm to school program. The Garden to Cafeteria Safe Sourcing Protocol helps food services staff to work with farmers to make sure produce is handled and processed in a way that it can be safely and easily used by cooks in the cafeteria.