2013 PRESS RELEASES
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November 7, 2013
DURING HIS LAST WEEKS IN OFFICE, COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE MAKES VISITING VIRGINIA SCHOOLS A PRIORITY
~ 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:
- Wednesday, November 13, 10:30 a.m. to noon – G.H. Reid Elementary School, 1302 Whitehead Road, Richmond 23225; contact Principal Vincent Darby, 804.745.3550. Reid was a recipient of the first round of the USDA Farm to School Planning Grants in 2012. The event begins in the school lobby at 10:30, at 10:45 students will enjoy a local food lunch featuring Virginia Grown sweet potatoes and apples. At 11:15, participants will tour the school greenhouse and learn about the garden and farm to school integration program from Shalom Farms.
- Thursday, November 14, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Rappahannock County Elementary School, 34 School House Road, Washington, VA 22747; contact Principal Cathy Jones, 540.227.0200. Rappahannock also received a 2012 Farm to School Planning Grant. The event kicks off in the school lobby and includes a tour of the school gardens, an update on their USDA Farm to School Grant and a local foods lunch. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Piedmont Environmental Group and others will participate.
See photos from the 2012 Farm to School Week here.