FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — October is National Farm to School Month, an opportunity for thousands of schools, early care sites, farms, and government entities across the country to promote food education, school gardens and lunch trays filled with healthy, local fruit and vegetables.
The Broward County Commission promoted the observance by recognizing the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Broward Extension Family Nutrition Program (FNP) on October 17 at the commissioner meeting. Vice Mayor Dale V.C. Holness presented a proclamation recognizing the impact that UF/IFAS FNP has made on influencing positive eating and food selection behaviors that ultimately aim at improving the health of the community at large. The proclamation was presented to Lorna Bravo, UF/IFAS Broward Extension Director, Bridget Lane, Public Health Specialist of UF/IFAS Extension Southeast Florida FNP, and Zoe Crego, and Darlene Mopper of the Broward County Public Schools Nutrition Program.
FNP at UF/IFAS is the Florida component of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, also known as SNAP-Ed. It is a partnership between USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, UF/IFAS local county extension offices, and the Florida Department of Children and Families,
“FNP at UF/IFAS Extension Broward County works with families who have limited resources by promoting access to nutritious food choices on a budget through our education program,” Bravo said. “We are excited to continue growing the Farm to School movement to empower children and adults by stressing access to healthy options and local produce, while promoting agriculture education, our local growers, while fueling the local economy.”
In 2018, the FNP program reached 10,346 Broward County residents to adopt healthier eating and physical activity habits to help reduce the risk of obesity and chronic disease, added Bravo. Farm to school activities enhance classroom education through hands-on learning related to food, health, agriculture and nutrition.
“FNP has been providing free nutrition education since 1996 throughout the state of Florida,” added Lane, who works to implement the program in Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Collier counties.
“We also collaborate on a national, state, and local level to provide environmental and policy-level changes,”
To further the ongoing efforts of FNP, Lane will work with BCPS on November 1st to launch the Florida Crunch. The Florida Crunch activity is a one-day event organized across the state to celebrate National Farm to School Month. It raises awareness of Florida’s grown produce and healthy eating by highlighting one fruit or vegetable for students to learn about and sample in a taste test. The event encourages schools to serve more Florida-grown produce as part of their cafeteria nutrition programs.
“BCPS features fresh from Florida fruits and vegetables on the menu throughout the year, and also provides elementary students with the opportunity to try local produce through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program,” she added.
Also recognized in the proclamation were FNP’s efforts to support countywide shared table initiatives and school food pantries to decrease food waste. These UF/IFAS FNP and BCPS efforts are in alignment with the USDA’s commitment to preventing hunger,
“We are grateful to Broward County for acknowledging the value of agricultural education and Farm to School activities. UF/IFAS Extension Broward County is excited to continue growing the Farm to School movement, urban agriculture education to increase fresh produce access and continue to build our partnership with Broward County,” added Lane.
By: Lourdes Rodriguez, 954-577-6363 office, 954-242-8439 mobile, firstname.lastname@example.org
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human, and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries and all Florida residents.