Farm Fresh Features is back this fall, providing students with fresh produce from southeast Michigan every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in September and October. Formerly known as Farm Fresh Fridays, the program began on Fridays and was expanded to offer local produce to students more frequently.
Featured items are served in the Fruit and Veggie bars at elementary schools and are made available for the taking at the secondary schools. Click here for the district’s Farm Fresh Features schedule.
Last Wednesday, students at several schools – Mitchell, Ann Arbor Open @ Mack, Lakewood, Carpenter and the Ann Arbor Preschool and Family Center – shucked and cleaned corn during the school day that was to be served as part of the Friday “Farm Fresh” lunch for students.
Students at Ann Arbor Open took the project one step further, with kindergarteners creating corn husk dolls and other students reading a book about the history of corn and it’s importance to the Azteck culture, said Sara Aeschbach, the district’s director for community education and recreation who helps coordinate the district’s wellness efforts.
“The Farm to School Collaboration is always looking for ways to expand on the program,” said Aeschbach. “One goal of the program is to increase student awareness about locally grown food, so we thought that husking the corn would get kids more involved and interested in eating it.
“When the corn arrived from the farm, some ears were still attached to large stalks. That definitely made a different impression than eating corn out of a can.”
The Farm Fresh project also provides in-class visits by local farmers and fruit and vegetable tastings and reaches hundreds of students in The Ann Arbor Public Schools each fall. It is made possible by the Ann Arbor Farm-to-School Collaboration which includes: The Ann Arbor Public Schools, Chartwells Dining Services, Project Healthy Schools, The Agrarian Adventure, The Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, Food System Economic Partnership and The Washtenaw County Health Department.
The Farm to School Collaboration embraces local and regionally grown produce as not only a healthy choice for students but as a way to educate students on the availability of fresh foods in their area as well as supporting local and regional farms in their efforts to be sustaining contributors to our local economy.
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