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Commissioner Miller Launches Farm Fresh Fridays to Connect Texas Schools With Local Farmers and Ranchers (9/25/2015)

DALLAS – Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller today joined students at Margaret B. Henderson Elementary School in Dallas to announce the launch of his latest initiative — Farm Fresh Fridays. The goal of Farm Fresh Fridays is to bring greater awareness to healthy, Texas-grown foods and increase connections between Texas schools and local farmers and ranchers. Commissioner Miller, along with school food service staff members and several agricultural producers, came together today to stress the importance of establishing lifelong healthy eating habits to students.

“Farm Fresh Fridays is about teaching our kids where their food comes from and why it is important to make healthy choices,” Commissioner Miller said. “Our farmers and ranchers work hard every day to produce the food we eat. Then, members of the food service teams at our schools work hard to create healthy meals that kids enjoy. By fostering these connections and serving healthy, locally grown meals, we are building a stronger future for our state. Texas agriculture matters in each of our lives, and I’m excited to see it take a more prominent seat at the table in schools across the Lone Star State.”

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is launching Farm Fresh Fridays as part of Commissioner Miller’s five-point plan to combat childhood obesity. This latest effort provides Texas students with a direct connection to agriculture and represents cooperation between TDA, Texas schools, individual communities and local agricultural producers.

Farm Fresh Fridays is launching ahead of National Farm to School Month in October. Farm to school initiatives bring together Texas students and agriculture, and serve as a way to connect communities with locally grown food and the people who produce it. Additionally, in October, TDA will kick off its annual Local Products Challenge, which encourages schools to use more Texas products in their meals. All of this is part of TDA’s efforts to bring Texas agriculture into the classroom.

As part of Farm Fresh Fridays, TDA has launched a new website, FarmFreshFriday.org. The website offers many tools and resources to establish and foster connections between Texas farmers and ranchers, schools, child care providers and local communities. Resources include: Ideas for making fresh Texas foods part of a nutrition plan; the Texas produce seasonality wheel, which teaches kids when fruits and vegetables are in season; recipes using Texas-grown products; and much more.

“Our children are our greatest natural resource, and we need them to be healthy if they are going to lead the state to a brighter future,” Commissioner Miller said.