Created by the Texas Department of Agriculture, the challenge promotes nutritious, homegrown eating by encouraging districts across the state to purchase and serve locally produced foods to students.
“Every year, Texas schools have a great opportunity to help kids learn about healthy eating with the Farm Fresh Challenge,” said Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller in a media release. “Texas agriculture offers everything schools need to serve something local for any meal or menu. I encourage our partners to serve Texas products so students learn the benefits of eating fresh, nutritious foods.”
As with all initiatives administered by the MFISD Child Nutrition Department, students are engaged through interactive learning.
“There are many aspects on how you can promote the Farm Fresh Challenge,” Child Nutrition Director Maria Manzo said. “Interaction, even in the service line, can be helpful in teaching students the importance of locally grown foods.”
Food sources for the challenge include companies based in San Antonio and Kerrville, which source from farmers across the state.
“Wherever we get things from, I like to acknowledge that in our menus,” Manzo said. “We like to say things about where our products come from to grow student understanding.”
Through the program, students learn about the hardworking people who produce their food.
“It is important that our students know the value of supporting local farms and eating a nutritious homegrown diet,” Manzo said.
Available on all campuses, the program has been especially well-received by students at Marble Falls High School.
“Younger children may not understand what the Farm Fresh Challenge means, but our high school students recognize what this program means and have noticed all the new fresh fruits and vegetables,” Manzo said.
While the Farm Fresh Challenge kicked off in October, Manzo has no plans of slowing down.
“The challenge is really set for the month of October. That’s when (Texas Department of Agriculture) rolls it out,” she said. “Each month, I will always feature fresh fruits and vegetables from wherever my sources are around the state.”