The Jane Lawton Farm to School Program, named in honor of the late Maryland House of Delegates member Jane Lawton of Montgomery County, was created during the 2008 Session of the Maryland General Assembly when SB 158 Farm-to-School Program - Activities and Promotional Events, sponsored by Senator Jamie Raskin of Montgomery County was signed into law by the Governor O'Malley.
Sponsored by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Maryland State Department of Education, the Farm to School program works to bring more Maryland-grown products to school lunches with the aim of educating students about where their food comes from, how it is produced, and the benefits of a healthy diet.
In Maryland, over 70 million lunches and 24 million breakfasts are served in our public school systems annually. Approximately $17.9 million of federal funding from the National School Lunch Program is spent on fruits and vegetables for Maryland school lunches each year. What if 10% of this produce was purchase locally? It could be a sizeable economic benefit to the state. Farmers would have additional income, thereby strengthening the local economy and keeping land open and productive. Our children would receive the nutritional benefits of fresh, local products as well as the knowledge of why this matters. Also, the financial, environmental, and nutritional costs of transporting food would decrease. However, there are many factors that influence the school systems' ability to purchase local produce including: a limited growing season, limited quantities, pricing distribution issues, and customer acceptance. We're working hard to overcome some of these barriers.
We encourage students and parents to continue to ask for Maryland produce in school lunches.
Maryland Farm to School Farm
Event for Maryland Homegrown School Lunch Week will be held at North Dorchester High School, Hurlock, MD on September 18. Read More...