Thursday, October 7, 2010

DC Farm to School Week, October 12-15

By guest blogger Andrea Northup

Imagine a D.C. schoolchild travels to a farm in Maryland and harvests green, leafy kale with his classmates. The students take the kale back to their classroom and prepare a delicious dish with the help of a prominent local chef.   He tries kale for the first time in his life - and likes it!   And when he sees kale on her cafeteria tray during lunch that week, he eats it and encourages his friends to do the same.   He gains a deeper appreciation - through his complete farm-to-table experience - of where food comes from and how it can be prepared in healthy, delicious ways.

During D.C. Farm to School week October 12-15, nearly 2,000 D.C. schoolchildren will have the chance to harvest seasonal produce on a local farm, and prepare it in the classroom with a professional chef.   Additionally, schools across the District (nearly 200 in total) will serve and highlight fresh, local foods in their school meals during the week.   The D.C. Farm to School Network is working in partnership with schools, parents, sponsors and community partners to make the week a success.   A special thanks to our top-tier sponsors for their support - Whole Foods Georgetown, WGirls DC, and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.

For more information, including a complete listing of participating schools and events, visit www.dcfarmtoschool.org/week.

D.C. Farm to School Week will begin with an exciting kick-off celebration, featuring battling chefs, a local apple taste test, and a school garden work party/dedication ceremony.   The kickoff is October 12 at 1:00pm at Thurgood Marshall Academy & Savoy Elementary’s shared gymnasium (2427 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE).   The schools are near the Anacostia metro station and many bus lines; parking is available in lot across the street.   RSVP to Kacie via email.

Special guests Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, and Sam Kass, White House Chef and Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives will join us, as students judge local chefs competing to create the tastiest dish from a local apple harvest.   The images from a city-wide School Garden Photo Contest will be displayed and the winning photographers announced.   A brand-new school garden, shared by Thurgood Marshall Academy and neighboring Savoy Elementary School, will be named, dedicated, painted and planted.   We’ll also celebrate the passage of the D.C. Healthy Schools Act and the exciting changes in school lunches with Councilmember Mary Cheh.

It’s an exciting time for Farm to School here in the nation’s capital - please join us in celebrating!

Andrea Northup is the Coordinator of the D.C. Farm to School Network, which is a program of the Capital Area Food Bank.

Photos by Sarah Bernardi, D.C. Greens.

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