Nutrition website

New website helps connect Arkansas farms to schools

“It supports local businesses, it helps kids eat healthy food, it really connects our whole community.”

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Imagine children sitting in the school cafeteria and munching on fresh Arkansas-grown strawberries with their lunch.

Well, a new website is trying to make that imagination a reality.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has launched a multiplatform website aimed at connecting local farmers to schools.

At Forest Park Elementary Outdoor Learning Center, they teach children in recent years through hands-on, nutrition-based education.

Garden coordinator Kristin Taylor said they are now about to start breeding this using local Arkansas produce.

“I feel like this is another opportunity that we can just build on, increase, improve the experience that kids get,” she said.

Inside Forest Park Elementary’s Roots Garden, kids can get their hands dirty and try new things.

Learn in a way that can’t be found in the halls of school, Taylor said.

“If they’re not kids of the books, they’re not kind of kids sitting at a desk, it really gives them a place to thrive, a place to find their own kind of niche,” he said. she declared.

A niche that Taylor says can now be taken to a whole new level with a new cross-platform website from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.

“Maybe it will allow us to put some of what we grow here and combine it with a local farm and give it to the kids,” she said.

Sarah Lane, farm-to-school and early childhood education programmer for the Department of Agriculture, said the website makes it easy for farmers to find contact details for schools that buy local food, while districts can do the same to find local farmers.

“The pandemic has really shown us how fragile our local food system can be, so this new website fills that gap,” she said.

According to Lane, the goal is to see more local food in schools, whether at the lunch table or in a garden.

“It supports local businesses, it helps kids eat healthy food, it really connects our whole community,” she said.

A bond that has never been so important.

“With everything that has happened over the past few years, we just think this website will be a way to better support our farmers and schools, who want to engage in farm-to-school activities.” , Lane said.

The website already has over 300 school gardens and over 800 listed farmers and distributors.

Farmers can easily find schools here and districts can easily find farmers here.

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