Education

Published on November 1st, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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District Five earns USDA Best Practice Award

District Five students learn to build a watering system for their school garden during a recent Farm to Five event.

IRMO – A Lexington-Richland School District Five program aimed at enriching the connection students have with fresh food and local farms was honored recently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

District Five’s student nutrition officials were presented with the USDA Best Practice Award for the district’s Farm to School initiative. Just two school districts in South Carolina received the award, which was presented Oct. 15 during the 62nd annual School Nutrition Association of South Carolina conference.

“We’re honored to receive the Best Practice Award because we know it means we are being good stewards of the resources we’ve been given,” said District Five Director of Student Nutrition Todd Bedenbaugh. “The award is also a testament to the work of all the schools, which have really embraced the Farm to School program and given our students a better idea of where their food comes from.”

Since its launch in 2013, the district’s Farm to Five program has provided more local ingredients for school meals, summer training for cafeteria staff, teacher and staff field trips to local farms, and upgrades to several school gardens. Cooking demonstrations, the district’s Pronto Taco food truck and other initiatives also have been supported through Farm to Five. The district has also received several grants to supplement its Farm to Five initiatives, including Fuel Up to Play 60 grants and a $30,000 BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation grant.

At Seven Oaks Elementary MEDIA Magnet School on Oct. 20, students participated in an apple tasting as part of the district’s observance of National Farm to School month. Students looked up trivia about apples and sampled Gala apples from a South Carolina producer.

“These apples were delivered today from a farm near York,” District Five Farm to School Coordinator Susan Bowles told the fifth grade class assembled for the apple tasting. “Getting your food from local farms right here in South Carolina is good for the economy. It’s good for local farmers…and it’s good for providing healthy food that will help us all fuel our minds and bodies.”

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