WVDA Announces Regional Farm to School Summit

RIPLEY, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA), in collaboration with the West Virginia Department of Education and the Farm to School Alliance, will host a regional Farm to School Summit May 18 at Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley. This meeting will be the first of several held with the goal of bringing together producers, agricultural & ProStart educators, school nutrition directors, WVU extension agents and others from Wood, Jackson, Calhoun, Roane, Gilmer and Wirt counties. Farm to School programs are designed to increase the availability of local foods in schools.

“During the pandemic, we experienced a logistical breakdown for how we feed our children in schools. We saw firsthand that ensuring our students have access to fresh, healthy options is vital to the success of the next generation,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “I do not know a better time to focus on how to create a greater influx of local food into our school systems than coming out of this crisis.”

During the May 18 summit, program organizers will provide a current farm to school overview with a focus on how to expand in the six targeted counties. They will also discuss the state’s farm to school strategic plan, as well as what schools in this region are currently purchasing and how they interact with potential producers. There will be an opportunity for networking between school administrators and producers interested in farm to school programs. Producers in these counties are encouraged to attend. Dinner will be provided.

Due to Covid-19 guidelines, prior registration for the summit is required. Masks are mandatory and social distancing will be observed. Funds for this project were awarded to the WVDA through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Community Food Systems. For more information or to register, contact Elizabeth Adams at eadams@wvda.us or 304-558-2210.