Schooled on Local Food Benefits

Schools stand to benefit children, their own institutions and local farmers with local-food programs

(RxWiki News) With schools serving breakfast, lunch and sometimes snacks to students, the opportunities to benefit students and local farmers with local-food programs are bountiful.

By providing fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, locacl farmers benefit from sales, and schools benefit from cost-effectiveness, according to data culled by researchers at Michigan State University, who looked at why farmers, school food service professionals (SFSP) and food distributors participate in farm-to-school programs.

Besides, the kids like the fruits and veggies, according to the study.

An educator interviewed by the researchers said the kids enjoy interacting with the local farmer, calling him "one of the coolest guys in the world."

Produce then becomes "a cool food," the teacher said, and added, "(Kids) don't want things that aren't cool."

Lower prices for fruits and vegetables stemmed from shorter distribution routes, according to researchers.

The benefits also extend to students at a time when nutrition education in the classroom has never proved more vital and budgetary restraints are tighter than ever.

Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Approximately 20 percent of all 6-to-11-year-olds are obese today, putting these children at risk for hypertension, diabetes and other cardio-metabolic disorders and diseases.

Review Date: 
January 27, 2011