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Press Releases

October 5, 2021
October 4-8 is Virginia Farm to School Week
Contact: Michael Wallace, VDACS; Charles B. Pyle, DEO

Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane is encouraging schools, businesses and communities across the commonwealth to celebrate Virginia Farm to School Week, October 4-8.

All Virginians are encouraged to make some noise for local Farm to School programs today (Tuesday, October 5) by celebrating the fifth annual “Crunch Heard ‘Round the Commonwealth” from 1–1:15 p.m. The social media promotion features Virginians taking a bite out of a Virginia Grown apple and sharing their images and videos.

“With schools now open for in-person instruction, students, teachers, principals and school nutrition staff have an opportunity to make some real noise this week about the importance of Virginia agriculture and nutritious school meals made with locally grown and raised foods,” Lane said. Lane will participate in the Crunch Heard 'Round the Commonwealth by sharing a video on social media.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Brad Copenhaver will also share Crunch Heard ‘Round the Commonwealth videos on social media.

“Virginia Farm to School programs are critical to strengthening relationships among farmers, students, and local communities. In addition to connecting students to agriculture and providing education opportunities, Farm to School activities promote the importance of local agriculture, improve student nutrition and health, and raise public awareness of food and farming," Copenhaver said.

Secretary of Education Atif Qarni and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Heidi Hertz will lead the crunch Tuesday during the annual Virginia Farm to School Conference, which is virtual again this year due to the pandemic.

“Connecting students with food that is grown locally provides a great opportunity for them to learn more about the natural resources available in their communities and understand where their food comes from,” said Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Celebrating Farm to School Week is a fun and engaging way to connect food and the importance of nutrition to the curriculum.”

Participants in Farm to School Week activities are encouraged to use the hashtags #farmtoschool and #VACrunch, and to share their posts with the Virginia Department of Education’s Office of School Nutrition Programs via @VDOESNP.

The Virginia Farm to School Network, formed in 2018, connects schools with local food producers to purchase fresh, healthy foods for school cafeterias, preschools and summer feeding programs while enhancing educational opportunities in school gardens, classrooms and cafeterias.

Additional information about celebrating Virginia Farm to School Week and the Crunch Heard ‘Round the Commonwealth can be found on the VDACS and VDOE websites. School divisions interested in joining the Virginia Farm to School Network should contact Director of School Nutrition Programs Sandra Curwood at Sandra.Curwood@doe.virginia.gov or 804.225.2074.

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