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November 7, 2013

~ November 11 – 15, 2013, is Farm to School Week in Virginia ~
Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686

Matt Lohr, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), is an agriculture educator at heart, and that is why he is taking time out of his last couple of weeks in office to visit Virginia schools for Farm to School Week. Lohr, who announced October 29, that he was leaving VDACS to go to Farm Credit of the Virginias, said, “The Farm to School program is extremely popular in Virginia, and for good reason. The children benefit by eating more fresh, local produce, as well as local dairy products and meats. Farmers benefit by getting new markets for their products and being able to sell directly to schools. The state as a whole benefits, too, by keeping food dollars in the local community.”

To celebrate the popularity and growth of Farm to School, November 11 – 15, 2013, is Virginia Farm to School Week. The first celebration was in 2009, and in 2010, the Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution making the second full week in November the official Virginia Farm to School Week. The first ever USDA Farm to School census, released recently, showed that Virginia schools spent an estimated $104,555,000 on school food in school year 2011-2012, with $11,068,957, nearly 11 percent of that amount, directed locally. Sixty-one percent of schools said they planned to purchase more local foods in the future.

Students in six school districts in the Charlottesville area, including Albemarle, Greene and Nelson Counties and the cities of Charlottesville, Staunton and Waynesboro, will enjoy an array of healthy fruits, vegetables and meats grown by local farmers. Schools in Prince Edward, Rappahannock and James City counties and the cities of Arlington, Washington and Richmond also are among this year’s participating schools. For information on other participants, contact local school districts to learn about their programs and plans for Farm to School Week.

Commissioner Lohr will visit the following schools:

Click here for more Farm to School information and resources or contact the Marketing Division at 804.225.3663. Farm to School census results are available here.

See photos from the 2012 Farm to School Week here.

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