by Kathleen Yetman
October is National Farm to School Month – a time to celebrate connecting kids to local food.
Farm to School programs may include one or more of three elements: procurement, education and school gardens. Procurement is the sourcing of foods from local farms to be served in school meals, snacks or cafeteria taste tests. Through education, students participate in lessons about cooking, agriculture and nutrition. School gardens engage students in growing their own food and learning science, math and other subjects in a hands-on, real-life setting.
In the greater Prescott area, kids and families benefit from each of these elements. Humboldt Unified School District’s (HUSD) Child Nutrition program gives preference to local produce when procuring food for students, and provides nutrition education in the classroom. Many schools in HUSD and all in Prescott Unified School District have a school garden. For four years, Yavapai County Community Health Services, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and Prescott Farmers Market have collaborated to provide in-school nutrition and cooking classes, assistance in garden building, and after-school garden clubs. Each October, these three organizations coordinate school-wide taste tests of a locally grown veggie in local cafeterias to introduce kids to fresh vegetables from nearby farms.
Farm to School programs greatly impact the health of children and families in our communities. Kids are more likely to eat a vegetable when they are directly involved in planting the seed, watering and harvesting it. In addition to benefiting students and the schools they attend, Farm to School strengthens the local economy, increases the income of local farmers and inspires families to cook more vegetables at home.
Prescott Summer Farmers Market
- May ‑ October
- Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. – noon
- Yavapai College Parking Lot B
- 1100 E. Sheldon St.
Prescott Winter Farmers Market
- November – April
- Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- YRMC Pendleton Center
- 930 Division Street
Prescott Valley Farmers Market
- Tuesdays, 3 – 6 p.m.
- Harkins Theatres Parking Lot
- Glassford Hill Road and Park Avenue
Chino Valley Summer Farmers Market
- June – October
- Thursdays, 3 – 6 p.m.
- Olsen’s Grain Parking Lot
- 344 State Highway 89
Yavapai County Community Health Services
1090 Commerce Drive, Prescott, AZ 86305
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
840 Rodeo Drive, Prescott, AZ 86305