For Immediate Release
Contact: Dale Wetzel, Public Information Specialist
Baesler: DPI, Ag Dept to Promote North Dakota Foods
BISMARCK, N.D., July 17, 2017 – State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said the Department of Public Instruction and the state Agriculture Department will team up this fall to encourage schools and child-care centers to serve more North Dakota-produced food.
At two “Put Our State on Your Plate” conferences last year, participants asked for marketing and technical help to promote locally produced food, Baesler said. Deb Egeland, the NDDPI’s assistant director for child nutrition, said the agency subsequently obtained a $75,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to help in offering that aid.
Egeland said the grant will pay for special promotions and aprons for schools and child-care facilities; to hire a farmer and marketing partner for technical assistance; and to provide smaller local grants to pay for Farm to School and Farm to Preschool activities.
Baesler and state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said the NDDPI and the NDDA will be partners in encouraging North Dakota schools and child-care centers to serve locally grown and processed foods on Sept. 28, which is Pride of Dakota School Lunch Day, and during North Dakota Farm to School Month in October.
Pride of Dakota is a NDDA program that promotes North Dakota products, services and businesses.
“Farm to School programs show our young people the importance of North Dakota agriculture, and emphasize its crucial role in producing food for the family table, the school cafeteria and the child care center,” Baesler and Goehring said in a joint statement.
Students at schools with strong Farm to School programs tend to eat more school-prepared meals, waste less food, and are more willing to try locally grown fruits and vegetables, a 2015 USDA survey showed. The programs increase food purchases from farmers, ranchers and food processors and manufacturers within the state, the survey said.