Conferences aimed at bringing local foods into schools, getting kids in gardens

Farmers, school officials and the people who serve our kid food daily are in Boise today and Tuesday to talk about how to get more local foods into school lunches.

The two-day Farm-to-School conference at the Riverside Hotel in Boise is aimed at bringing more local foods to school cafeterias, increasing nutrition and agriculture literacy, and establishing school gardens.

“My focus is to bring culinary training to the most dedicated group of nutrition professionals in the world,” said Chef Adam Simon, director of Fayette School District Foodservice in Arkansas and the keynote speaker at the conference. “We want to get back to basics.”

Farm-to-School is a national program that strives to connect local food and agriculture with schools, students, and teachers through a variety of methods including teacher curriculum, serving local foods in school cafeterias and school gardens. This not only helps nutrition, but also encourages getting students in tune with the land.

“Idaho is a leading state in this effort,” said Leah Clark, manager of the Idaho Preferred program at the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. “We have schools across the state aggressively seeking local products for their cafeterias, many successful school gardens and producers interested in the market.”

For more information on the Idaho Farm to School program visit http://idahopreferred.com/farm-to-school.