Middleton School District Voted Top Farm to School Program in Idaho
Middleton School District’s Farm to School Program Named
“One in a Melon” Award Winner
MIDDLETON, ID, May 24, 2016 – USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service recently awarded Middleton School District a “One in a Melon” award for administering an exemplary Farm to School program. One school district per state was selected for the award by receiving the most public nominations.
From March 15 – April 15, parents, teachers, community stakeholders, and students were invited to visit USDA’s Farm to School Census website and nominate their favorite Farm to School program to receive the award. According to the Census, 55 Idaho districts have farm to school programs, and a total of 5,254 districts participate across the U.S.
Middleton School District has been participating in farm to school since the 2000 – 2001 school year. They have purchased local produce from a variety of farmers in the area and began featuring self-serve fruit and vegetable “salad” bars for all schools in 2003-2004.
In 2010 Middleton School District started a program called “Spotlight of the Week”. The program features items which many students may not have seen or eaten before. In addition, fruit & vegetable “salad” bars highlight nutritional information and fun facts on posters and via emails sent to all faculty members. The Middleton School District notes that they frequently receive calls from parents asking where parents can find these new items that their kids are asking for.
Farm to school programs help kids form healthy habits, learn where their food comes from, and develop an understanding of the importance of nutrition and agriculture. Results of the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census show that schools with robust farm to school programs report reductions in food waste, higher school meal participation rates, and increased willingness of the students to try new foods, notably fruits and vegetables. Census results also show that U.S. schools invested nearly $800 million in local food from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers in the 2013- 2014 school year, which is money going directly back into local communities.
For more information about Middleton School District’s farm to school program, please contact Barbara Bumgardner at 208-585-6700.