USDA Grant Closes with More Fresh, Local Foods in Schools

 

November 2016 marked the closing of Healthy Acadia’s two-year USDA Farm to School Implementation Grant. Implementation of the Farm to School Initiative in Washington County has greatly benefited students, families and farms across the region.  Program highlights include:

Increased access to healthy foods through the establishment of a local distribution system of Maine products that sold 7,500 pounds of Maine grown food to 16 schools;

Increased sales by farms to schools with the sale of $11,000 of products to Washington County schools;

$5000 in mini grants provided to schools to support Farm to School efforts;

AmeriCorps’ FoodCorps members worked directly with participating school faculty, students and volunteers to integrate Farm to School programming;

Improved distribution and storage systems that support local farms and Farm to School efforts for the long term;

Greater integration of nutrition policies and education in the school systems, leading to healthier outcomes for students and families;

Expanded school environments and curricular opportunities that encourage consumption of and engagement with local, healthy foods;

Increased recognition and support of local Farm to School efforts; and

Encouraged greater support for ensuring access to healthy foods for children throughout the region.

“Without Regina’s farm to school support from Healthy Acadia, I would not have been able to do the local food purchasing and recipe experimentation that I have done over the last several years,” said Heather Mawhinney, Jonesboro School’s Food Service Director. “When I first started here as the cook at Jonesboro School, her guidance and assistance was essential to my success.”

Moving forward, Healthy Acadia will continue to provide Farm to School resources as requested, and our FoodCorps service members will continue to provide hands-on service in selected schools in our community. For more information, contact Regina (Washington County) at 255-3741 or Katie (Hancock County) at 667-7171.