Alabama schools to get farm-to-table lunches

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 6:25 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2022 at 7:32 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Students will soon have farm-to-table school lunches. It’s part of a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Farmers and state leaders gathered in Millbrook Tuesday morning to sign the local food for schools agreement. The program will pay local farmers federal dollars to harvest food for school lunches.

Alabama will receive $3 million. The funds will be used in school systems where 50% of students receive free and reduced lunch.

“We talk about the recipe for success, right? We see this here, this is the recipe for success,” said Jenny Moffitt the USDA Under Secretary.

The Local Food for Schools Agreement was created by the USDA and partners with the state of Alabama and local farmers.

“We’re working with somewhere between 35 and 45 producers and about 75% of those are socially disadvantaged farmers,” said Dom Wambles with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

The selected farmers will receive part of the grant to harvest food specifically for school lunches. John Brown is among those farmers whose produce will go towards these lunches.

“We do watermelon, we do cantaloupes, and we do fall crops, greens, cabbage, etc,” said Brown.

This program will benefit students and farmers.

“It’s a benefit because it is a market for the farmers,” said Brown. “In the past, we didn’t have that as being small farmers.”

“We know kids can’t learn if they aren’t fed and they don’t have healthy food,” Moffitt said.

Some of the food is already in cafeterias marked with the Sweet Grown Alabama Sticker.

The program is expected to run through January 2024.

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