LITTLE ROCK — A program that teams local farms with nearby schools to provide fresh produce

for students and income for farmers is being recognized with Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s

proclamation of October as Arkansas Farm to School Month.

Farm to School is in 27 Arkansas school districts encompassing 169 schools and almost 87,000

students, according to the Census of Farm to School by the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Food

and Nutrition Service.  

The governor signed the proclamation in a ceremony Monday at the state Capitol.

The Arkansas Farm to School Month proclamation was co-sponsored by the Arkansas

Children’s Hospital Research Institute Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Program,

Access to Healthy Foods Workgroup of the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, the

Arkansas Department of Education, Child Nutrition Unit; Arkansas MarketMaker and the

Arkansas Agriculture Department.

The mission of the Arkansas MarketMaker program is to connect growers with customers. It is

housed and staffed within the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the U of A System Division

of Agriculture.

“We love supporting Farm To School because it’s a remarkably simple means to benefit the

entire community — students, schools and local farmers,” said Ron Rainey, director of the

Arkansas MarketMaker program and an extension economist for the University of Arkansas

System Division of Agriculture.

“Research done by Division of Agriculture scientists shows the value of fresh produce in schools

and its ability to reduce childhood obesity in a very economical way,” he said. And “these

partnerships also help local economies by boosting sales for local farmers. Everybody wins.”


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