From the farm to your child's lunch plate: VA officials visit local schools for Farm to School week

Two Lynchburg schools, Homestead Creamery partner to bring local milk to schools

By Magdala Louissaint - Lynchburg Bureau Reporter

LYNCHBURG, Va. - From the farm to your child's lunch plate.

"It is our No. 1 industry and we want to continue to grow agriculture," Bettina Ring, Virginia secretary of agriculture and forestry, said.

The Commonwealth is recognizing Lynchburg City Schools and local farmers new collaboration efforts. 

"The students can really enjoy local foods, and understand where their food is coming from, understanding where milk comes from, and it also helps the farmers stay in business," Ring said.

Ring paid a visit to Perrymont Elementary Tuesday. This comes after Homestead Creamery in Franklin County began hauling milk from its farm to students at Perrymont and Bedford Hills Elementary Schools in May.

They are the first schools in the state to do this.

Students pick their choice of milk from the self-serve milk machine, allowing them to take as much as they want. 

"It was absolutely delicious and I want to have more," Ring said after tasting the chocolate milk.

Ring said the commonwealth recently set a program goal to have $22 million worth of local products in schools across Virginia by 2022. 

"We have a little over $15 million right now, but we know that we can grow that. And there are so many wonderful farmers across the state and opportunities and schools that are stepping up," Ring said.

Beth Morris, the director of school nutrition said students are making good use of the local milk than they did the carton milk. They don't have waste statistics yet, but Morris said, "Our informal measurement is the small bucket that the children pour their unfinished milk into. And at the end of the entire lunch period we're looking at a very immeasurable amount at the bottom of that bucket."

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