Agriculture Commissioner James Comer visited six Kentucky schools recently to encourage child nutrition and healthier school lunches. Commissioner Comer said fresh produce from local farms should be on the menu in Kentucky’s schools.
“Children who are overweight and obese are at greater risk of chronic ailments that can damage their quality of life and even shorten their lives,” he said. “Schools can help students eat better, but many schools simply don’t have the resources, the equipment, or the training necessary to serve healthy meals on a consistent basis. I want to talk to local leaders about how the Kentucky Department of Agriculture can help.”
Commissioner Comer’s schedule included Owsley County, Knox County, Jackson County, Marion County, Green County and Metcalfe County school districts.
Legislators and local officials from each of these districts joined Comer’s call for healthy choices for Kentucky’s children. According to the Pew Health Group, one of the Pew Charitable Trusts, more than 23 million children and teens in the United States are overweight or obese. Many U.S. children and teens consume more than half of their daily calories at school. During a typical school day, about 4 in 10 American students buy and consume snack foods or beverages, according to Pew.
“Just a small amount of money would enable many school districts to make healthy and nutritious foods available to their students,” Comer said. “The Kentucky Department of Agriculture can help these schools wade through federal bureaucracy and find the necessary funding. We can also help with our Farm to School Program, which connects schools with local producers who can provide fresh Kentucky Proud foods. That’s good for our kids, and it helps local farmers make a living.”
More than 80 Kentucky school districts are involved in the Farm to School Program. To find out more about the Farm to School Program, go to http://www.kyagr.com/, click on Programs, click on Food Distribution, and click on Farm to School.