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Commissioner Miller Kicks Off Annual Farm Fresh Challenge For Texas Schools (10/1/2018)

For Immediate Release:
Oct. 1, 2018

Schools spent more than $5 million on Texas products during last year’s challenge

AUSTIN – Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller today announced the start of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) annual Farm Fresh Challenge for Texas schools. Formerly known as the Local Products Challenge, the event runs throughout October and recognizes school nutrition teams that serve more local products in meals while teaching children about foods grown and raised in Texas. This year TDA added social media as a challenge goal by encouraging schools to share their successes online. More than 216 school districts and charter school organizations have pledged participation for 2018.

“Every year, the Farm Fresh Challenge gains new momentum and builds real excitement around eating healthy foods from the Lone Star State,” Commissioner Miller said. “It started as an innovative way to promote local foods and now the challenge has a real impact on students and their communities. Texas agriculture offers something local for any meal or menu and when our partners serve that food in the cafeteria, families are more likely to put it on the table at home. I want all Texans to learn healthy habits that will sustain local economies and build a healthier future for the great state of Texas.”

The annual Farm Fresh Challenge supports TDA’s goal of connecting federal nutrition programs with foods from Texas producers. Children eat over 3 million school lunches each day in Texas; it is a great opportunity to connect these children to our state’s great agriculture bounty. Schools reported spending about $5.6 million on Texas products as part of TDA’s 2017 Farm Fresh Challenge.

Every year schools participating in the Farm Fresh Challenge get access to TDA resources that encourage Texas students to try local foods and make connections with local agricultural producers. Now in its sixth year, the challenge could impact as many as 4,795 school campuses in 2018. This year TDA also launched the Summer Farm Fresh Challenge to introduce young Texans to Texas products in Summer Food Service Program meals. Plans are underway for making the Farm Fresh Challenge available to partners in the Child and Adult Care Food Program next year.

The Farm Fresh Challenge is part of Commissioner Miller’s Farm Fresh Initiative, which supports local economies and efforts to grow strong young leaders for the Lone Star State.

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