Let's Go Local! Connects Schools with Local Growers

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May 2, 2013 | 3:05pm

More than 30 San Diego County school districts met with local produce growers and distributors today with the goal of putting more local fruits and vegetables on students’ plates.

The “Let’s Go Local!” Produce Showcase was the first farm-to-school event in San Diego County for school districts to learn about local sourcing opportunities that can support student health as well as local farmers.

“By making positive changes in the environments in which children learn and live, we can make a difference in the childhood obesity epidemic,” said Fourth District County Supervisor Ron Roberts, a longtime champion in San Diego’s fight against obesity.  “Efforts like today’s showcase will go a long way toward helping school leaders develop healthier places for our youth.” 

For growers and distributors, the “Let’s Go Local!” Produce Showcase offered an opportunity to learn about schools as an emerging market and to identify potential business partners to meet today’s local food demand.

The showcase offered schools a one-stop event for identifying the best in local-, regional-, and California-grown produce. Farm-to-School is an evidence-based program that supports student meal participation and fruit and vegetable consumption. 

“Farm-to-School is a proven strategy for enhancing the quality of school meals and promoting life-long healthy behaviors in children,” said Cheryl Moder, director of the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative (COI).  “And it has the co-benefit of boosting the local economy by supporting our local farmers and produce distributors.”

The showcase was hosted by the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, San Diego County Farm-to-School Task Force, San Diego Hunger Coalition, Whole Foods Market, and COI, a Community Health Improvement Partners project. It supports Live Well, San Diego!, an ongoing initiative to improve the health, safety and well-being of communities.