‘Farm to School’ program not only provides food to New Britain students, but allows them to learn about farming

Hartford

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) – Most people are familiar with the “Farm to Table” movement happening at restaurants, but what about “Farm to School”?

At one New Britain elementary school, learning where food comes from is part of the curriculum and part of the cafeteria menu.

Applesauce made from the fruit of Connecticut’s own Rodgers Orchards is one of the treats they get at Gaffney Elementary for having connections with local farms.

“We know that there are food deserts in urban areas, and we know that a lot of kids are never exposed to farms which were and have been such an integral part of our state,” said Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz at a press conference Tuesday morning.

Gaffney also has its own vegetable garden and greenhouse, not just to provide food, but also provide some learning about farming, and maybe something more.

“Having green space, having space where students can go out, get their hands dirty with a purpose and pick something and eat it,” said New Britain Schools Superintendent Nancy Sarra. “I just know, as an adult, that’s a peaceful place to be.”

Now the state is offering other schools the chance to get a taste of what Gaffney has. The Connecticut Department of Agriculture is offering what it calls “Farm to School” grants of up to $25,000 for schools to develop their own gardens, or to partner with local farms or both.

“Not only are we investing in school systems, we are investing in students, in building that programming, but those dollars go straight to Connecticut farms and invest in them,” explained Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt. “To make sure that we are getting as many bangs for our dollar as we possibly can..”

There are a limited number of state grants available through the state Department of Agriculture. They are taking applications through December 20th, so maybe your school can have something like this. For more information, you can go to: CTGrown.gov/grants

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