Farm to School program returns to Fayette County, bringing fresh produce to students and families

ANSTED, WV (WOAY) – Farm to School is back for its second year.

This is a program that has been integrated into Fayette County schools to bring fresh food to students and their families. It is also a collaborative effort between several departments, organizations and local farmers.

Last year saw the initiation of the program in elementary schools across the county.

An important part of the program, the first pop-up farmer’s market of the year was held Friday at Ansted Elementary. It empowered students to fill bags with fresh produce, taught them about farmers markets, and made that fresh food more accessible to them.

“There are a lot of issues in the county with access to food, and also access to healthy food,” says New Roots Farm coordinator Kathryn Eckman. Sometimes the nearest grocery store is like Dollar General and there aren’t a lot of fruits and vegetables there, so those markets are great because they send fresh fruits and vegetables home, as well as some recipes so families know how to use them.

The program tries to source as much local produce as possible from area farms. Friday’s batch came from New Roots Community Farm in Fayetteville.

Students were able to take home fresh apples, onions, cabbage and more at no cost. Increased funding, more resources and positive feedback from the community have allowed the program to expand the school market almost twice over last year.

“I just hope I can leave kids more confident in their food choices and less stressed about eating,” says new Ameri Corps program member Morgan Preast. “I really appreciate the excitement on the kids’ faces, and the fact that they’re so excited to bring home a bag of produce and have them say how much their moms love doing this with it, so I think they really appreciate that.”

Along with pop-up markets, the program is bringing more locally sourced food to school cafeterias, setting up school gardens and teaching students nutrition education.

This week, the program had planned to hold the Farmers Market in New River Intermediate and Fayetteville Prek-8. By the end of October, they expect to reach every public elementary school in the county.

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