Growing a Healthy Lunch: Tampa Bay area farm brings pototoes to the school lunch plate
The buzzing of the early morning alarm clock and the ringing of the school tardy bell—August is here and the mornings are about to get even more hectic for moms or dads checking backpacks and packing lunch for the little ones.
Luckily for many parents, more and more school lunchrooms are serving up healthy and nutritious meals.
Florida is one of the few states in which the School Nutrition Program falls under the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The department promotes farm to school programs that connect local farmers and ranchers to schools so that students know what foods are grown in their own state and learn to have an appreciation for agriculture.
Jones Potato Farm in Manatee County is one of many farm enterprises in Florida that reach deep into the community to help improve awareness of agriculture.
Leslie and Alan Jones bring farm fresh produce into Sarasota and Manatee County Schools by participating in the Farm to School program. The farm supplies about 15,000 pounds of potatoes each year to the county schools.
One of the lunch menu items served in Sarasota schools is an herb-roasted potato dish. The main ingredient is a red potato, grown fresh on Jones Potato Farm.
“Educating the community and children about the importance of farming is the core of it all,” explained Leslie Jones. “We have such great excitement when we pull out the school menus and there’s Jones Potato Farm on the menu. We’re proud to be able to contribute to our community in that way.”
“Our children are the foundation for the future. If we can get children interested and excited about learning where their food comes from, the more they will want to advocate for agriculture,” -Leslie Jones, Jones Potato Farm
Through Best Management Practices and precision watering, the farm has reduced overall water consumption by more than 50 percent.
*This article was originally published in the August 2017 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine. It is sponsored by: