Farm Progress

Taste Washington Day aims to feature Washington-grown foods in school cafeterias. The big day is October 5.

September 27, 2016

2 Min Read

The Washington Department of Agriculture, for the sixth year, is teaming with the Washington State Nutrition Association to partner with farmers and schools to feature Washington-grown foods in school cafeteria meals. On Oct. 5, Taste Washington Day will recognize the state's agricultural industry and how it contributes to providing healthy school meals throughout the year.

This year, 34 schools districts and 50 farms are participating, and more can still sign up. In proclaiming Taste Washington Day, Gov. Jay Inslee points to the state's diverse ag production that makes Washington a top national producer of many healthy foods. Those healthy foods include applies, pears, sweet cherries and vegetables including potatoes, sweet corn and peas.

Adds Derek Sandison, WSDA director: "The Washington State Local Farms Healthy Kids Act of 2008 has increased emphasis on making sure school children have access to healthy food options. Our Farm to School program links farmers and ranchers with schools to provide the freshest possible food. Taste Washington Day is the annual celebration of this partnership."

WSDA reports that the day has become popular with farmers, school administrators, students and parents. Many participating schools use the day to highlight special menus that make the most of their local seasonal fall harvests. Schools may also plan special events for the day, such as inviting a farmer to lunch or doing the Washington Apple Crunch.

Vickie Ayers, vice president of the Washington State Nutrition Association, notes that the key to getting children to want to eat healthy and nutritious foods is to introduce them early and often in their meals. She adds that "Taste Washington Day is also a good reminder of the bountiful agriculture we have right here in our own back yard."

Visit the WSDA Farm to School program’s Taste Washington Day web page for more information or contact Chris Iberle at (206) 256-1874.

Source: Washington State Department of Agriculture

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