Gov. Asa Hutchinson has proclaimed October as Arkansas Farm to School Month.
Gov. Hutchinson made the announcement during an event, held Tuesday at the state Capitol, celebrating Arkansas’s Farm to School program. He said that making fresh, healthy foods available to students improves their diets and promotes the priorities of the Healthy Active Arkansas initiative, a 10-year plan for increasing the number of Arkansans at a healthy weight. ACHI is a partner in Healthy Active Arkansas.
The governor also praised school gardens as educational tools. Read his proclamation here.
The event featured a showcase of informational exhibits on farm to school efforts by schools, farmers, nonprofits, and government agencies, as well as the presentation of awards to the following 2019 Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest winners:
- Overall School Garden Winner: Pike View Early Childhood Center, $1,000 Award
- Best Community Collaboration School Garden: Marshall Elementary, $500 Award
- Best Environmental Education-Based School Garden: Forest Park Elementary, $500 Award
- Best Nutrition Education-Based School Garden: Sheridan Intermediate, $500 Award
- Best School Garden Start-up Proposal: Springdale High School, $500 Award
The Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest was created by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and Farm Credit Cooperatives of Arkansas in 2014. The program promotes the involvement of young people in the process of fresh food production and cultivation. Farm Credit provides the monetary awards.
Others who participated in the event included state Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward; Dr. Emily English, director of the Access to Healthy Foods Research Group at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute; Sarah Lane, Arkansas’s first state farm to school coordinator; and Sen. Gary Stubblefield and Rep. Mary Bentley, the lead sponsors of legislation passed this year to create the state farm to school coordinator position.
Forty-seven Arkansas school districts have implemented farm to school practices. Learn more here.
Read more about ACHI’s work in support of Healthy Active Arkansas here.