PEPPERELL -- Fourth-grade students at Varnum Brook Elementary School will celebrate National Farm-to-School Month with a special Market Day on Oct. 7 at the Town Field.
Several area farms and regulars at the weekly Pepperell Farmers' Market have agreed to participate, including Dragonfly Farms, Kimball Fruit Farm, Kirk Farm, Little Acre Farms, Lyn-Dell Farm, Nissitissit Apiaries, Patriot Alpacas, Prescott Grange, Robinwood Farm and North Middlesex Regional High School.
Nutritionist Eric Reardon will speak to the group about the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as exercise for a healthy lifestyle. Then students will visit the vendors to hear first-hand about our local agriculture, how farm initiatives are managed and the impact on our community. The vendors have donated items to take home and a seedling project is planned. Organizers hope the conversation will continue with families outside of school to reinforce the benefits of a balanced diet.
Throughout the month of October, all grades at the elementary school are participating in activities that promote healthy eating and raise awareness for our local farms. Physical education classes will play games of Healthy Snack Tag, students created posters to promote the month's theme and lunch monitors are on the lookout to applaud kids caught eating their vegetables.
In 2010, Congress officially designated October as National Farm-to-School Month. The associated program connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.
The Massachusetts Farm to School Project has been matching up schools and farmers since 2004, helping to create sustainable local foods purchasing relationships.
Complete details for National Farm to School Month can be found at www.farmtoschoolmonth.org.
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