Grown in Marin
University of California
Grown in Marin

Linking Local Food to Marin Schools

schoollunch

Imagine Marin students enjoying fresh apples from the Gale Ranch, winter squash soup from Fresh Run Farm, crisp salads from Star Route Farms and fresh organic milk from Straus Dairy. This is the vision of the Marin Food Systems Project. With the support of MALT, Cooperative Extension and Marin Organic, the collaborators work to build improved school food service, to integrate agriculture and nutrition into the school curriculum, and to implement local policies that support local food systems and farming. On October 7, the Marin Food Systems Project of the Environmental Education Council of Marin hosted a group of food service directors and school representatives at Star Route Farm in Bolinas. The afternoon program focused on connecting schools with local farmers by giving participants first hand experience of Marin Farms. The group discussed the opportunities and challenges of connecting local farms and schools and came up with concrete actions to implement. Food service personnel from the following schools and districts attended: San Rafael School District, Novato Unified School District, Santa Rosa School District, Community Action Marin, San Domenico, Ross Valley School District, and Bolinas Stinson School District. Our Marin farms are not yet able to provide fresh and local food to each and every school in Marin. Yet making the edible connection between our schools and local farms will help to ensure a future for Marin's agriculture by instilling an appreciation of local agriculture in our young children. They learn from the start how farming supports them and their community. When they become consumers and voters, they will no doubt appreciate and support the continued viability of farming. Enjoying fresh, locally grown food in Marin schools has entered the dialogue of our food service directors. Meeting regularly with their counterparts in Sonoma, a strong alliance is forming that promises to improve the health of our children along with the health of the agricultural landscape. - Leah Smith, Marin Food Systems Project

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