COLUMBIA, Pa., Oct. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Students at Park Elementary School in Columbia Borough School District are expanding their palate and taste buds with locally grown produce thanks to a farm-to-school mini-grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).
The program is inspiring students across the commonwealth to learn about where their food comes from and to develop healthy eating habits. Today, PDE Executive Deputy Secretary David Volkman joined the students to sample local apples and see farm-to-school in action as they learned how to make homemade applesauce.
"It is critical to foster healthy eating habits at a young age," said Dr. Volkman. "This grant provides students throughout the commonwealth with fresh, local foods that will benefit them nutritionally, and will teach them about the importance of sustainability, health, and more about Pennsylvania's thriving agricultural industry."
The 2015 USDA Farm-to-School Census shows that 44 percent of surveyed Pennsylvania school districts participate in farm-to-school activities, and there are more than 130 school gardens growing in Pennsylvania.
"Hopefully, through this hands-on experience, students will be able to take the knowledge they've gained today and encourage their families to eat more nutritious, locally grown foods," said Principal John Black.
Park Elementary School is among 30 awardees receiving Project PA grants of up to $1,000 to implement farm-to-school activities such as student taste-testing of local products, farm-related field trips, school garden activities, and efforts to incorporate local products in school meals. Funding is provided by PDE's Division of Food and Nutrition.
Project PA is a collaboration between PDE and Penn State University, and since its inception, it has been a reliable resource providing Pennsylvania school food service personnel with training and assistance in school menu planning systems.
MEDIA CONTACT: Casey Smith, PDE, 717-783-9802
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education