As the interest in consuming locally-produced fruits, vegetables, and animal products is increasing in homes around the country, it is also increasing in our schools. Buying locally-produced products adds to the local economy, provides fresh food for the children, and provides an excellent learning opportunity.
Many states have Farm to School programs to educate kids on where their food comes from, what food is grown in their area, and how to use farm-fresh products. In Idaho, our program is Idaho Ag In The Classroom, or IATC. Since 1986, IATC has programs to educate both teachers and students about Idaho Agriculture, with farm tours, traveling ag trailers, and educational materials and activities.
Programs like IATC are reaching hundreds of thousands of children in the US to teach them about the importance of agriculture in their communities and in their country. Across the nation, over $385 million dollars of school food funds were invested in local communities. Over 40,000 schools buy local food for their cafeterias, and over 23 million students are learning to try new foods produced by local farmers. In Idaho, over $1.9 million dollars of school food money is used to purchase local products, feeding over 138,000 of our state’s children with our state’s produce.
In Idaho, as in most states, the majority of our kids have no direct experience with farming. Children are generations removed from first-hand knowledge of farming and ranching, increasing the need for intensified efforts to share the importance of agriculture in their lives.
Kiss My Tractor will be regularly posting material directed towards teachers and students, and have created a page to keep all these posts in one spot for easy referral. We hope all our readers will enjoy and learn from these posts!