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Farm to School

The following is information on the FVGAD Farm to School initiative in Delaware.

Farmers Wanted!

A “Farm to School” Initiative is ongoing in DE.

Ever wonder why the biggest buyer of food, our Government, doesn’t buy from us?

Do you ever think about where the food our Children and Grandchildren eat in School comes from?

Is it Local, Regional, National, or even from this Country?

We at the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware (FVGAD) are actively promoting a Farm to School Program. We want to bring Local Produce into the Schools that our Children attend. It can be Fresh, Frozen, Canned or Juice.

We are the Tax paying citizens in these Districts and want the Tax Money that we pay into these areas to stay in these areas.

The best part is the Local School Districts are willing to work with us. We have been able to help local farmers supply several school districts. We have met with most Food Service Managers of different Schools and they are very interested in being able to provide their Kids with more a Nutritious Menu including local fruits and vegetables.

It is certainly a worthy initiative to feed our Children the Best Tasting, Nutritious, and Safest Food grown in the World. It is also worthy to sustain Agriculture in our States for future generations.

The are three organizations willing to help Delaware farmers;

1) Nemours Health and Prevation Services: Ron Breeding rbreedin@NEMOUR.org
2) U of D Cooperative Extension Services: Gordon Johnson gcjohn@udel.edu
3) Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware, David Marvel dmarvel@bwwonline.net

This Initiative needs your help. We are looking for Growers, Moms and Dads to help in working with Local School to supply them with Good Quality Produce in any form.

We are not trying to replace their current Food Suppliers, but we are looking to give Our Children a Healthier Choice in School. It seems that a large % of them eat there twice a day, so why not Healthy? Why not from us?

David Marvel, Vice President
Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware
dmarvel@bwwonline.net
302-381-4811 Cell

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The Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware has been working on a farm to school program, to bring locally grown produce (fresh and processed) into schools.

A pilot school district was selected: Woodbridge (Bridgeville area). They have taken the lead in providing healthy meals and snacks for their students as well as educating students on eating healthy. From this start, the program has expanded to several other school districts.

The Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware, under the leadership of its president, David Marvel Jr., have partnered with school districts and are making connections between local growers and the food service groups in school districts.

Over time, it is hoped that most of the school districts in the state will also be buying local as much as possible. Future possibilities include colleges and universities in the state.

Although the school terms do not follow our summer harvest season, late summer and fall harvested produce will fit in well as will storable produce (such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, onions, apples, etc). There is opportunity for extended production with high tunnels and greenhouse produced crops for winter and early spring. Early spring harvested produce such as asparagus and strawberries also will fit well into this program. There is also potential for bringing locally processed vegetables into the schools throughout the school year.

A secondary but very important benefit of this program will be to educate students and parents on locally available produce, the farmers that grow it, how it is grown, and the benefits of eating locally produce.

This program is open to all Delaware growers.  To get involved in this program contact David Marvel Jr. at 302-381-4811

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Nemours Health and Prevention Services, a division of Nemours, announced two winners of their Vision Awards, designed to recognize exemplary programs in child health promotion. The recipients are Delaware Farms to Delaware Schools, a program of the Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware, and WISE SNAC Building Healthy Schools and Communities, a program of the Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The awards were presented at Nemours’ Annual Conference on Child Health Promotion, October 24 at the Hotel DuPont in downtown Wilmington.

The awards program was developed to mirror the organization’s vision – optimal health and development for all children – as well as its mission of engaging communities in finding and promoting strategies to help children and families lead healthier lives. The award selection was based on three primary criteria: innovative program design, community collaboration, and effectiveness, i.e., potential to serve as a model program.

Delaware Farms to Delaware Schools is a project of the Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware which procures and distributes fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables to rural public school districts. They currently serve all the schools in the Woodbridge School District in Sussex County and hope to expand to more Delaware schools next year. Thanks to this program, Woodbridge schools have been able to increase the amount of produce served to students, save money, and start a 50×100 foot school garden.

David Marvel accepted the award for the Vegetable Growers Association.

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