Volume 16, Issue 38 - September 18 - September 24, 2008

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Anne Arundel School Lunches Go Local

Local fruits and veggies on the menu

by Margaret Tearman

Students in Anne Arundel County public schools get a taste of locally grown produce on their lunch trays during Maryland’s Homegrown School Lunch Week.

The week-long program, running Sept. 22 to 26, is part of Maryland’s Jane Lawton Farm-to-School law passed this year.

“Teaching our children about the connection between farming and food today will ensure that tomorrow they make decisions that are the most beneficial for the farming community, our environment, the community and the general health of all Marylanders,” said Dr. Nancy Grasmick, state superintendent of schools.

Homegrown lunch schools agree to offer at least one locally produced item on each lunch menu.

“All 119 of our schools will be offering locally grown fruit and vegetables,” says Jodi Risse, Anne Arundel County Schools’ supervisor of food and nutrition services. “We’ll be serving fresh cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatoes, plums and whatever else comes available during the week.”

At least 16 Maryland school districts are trying out local foods for a week. “Some of our smaller counties purchase direct from farmers,” says Sue DuPont, Maryland Department of Agriculture spokesperson. “The larger districts are working with their produce distributors. With 950,000 students enrolled in Maryland’s public schools, it’s a win-win program — for schools and local farms.”

In Anne Arundel County alone, schools serve 29,000 lunches a day. That’s a lot of melons.

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