By Anna Bryson
Twenty-nine Florida school gardens, a new 5-acre farm and relationships with local farmers bring fresh produce to students.
At Sarasota County schools, fruits, vegetables, milk and eggs that are served in the cafeteria can come from local farmers. Sometimes, those farmers are students at the school.
The district’s farm to school program buys food from Jones Potato Farm in Parrish, Joshua Citrus in Arcadia, M&B Products in Tampa, and other farmers throughout Florida.
“We have great relationships with their local farmers and they love working with us and providing for the children. It’s really fulfilling for them to know that their products are going right into the schools,” said Carrie McDonald, Sarasota’s farm to school coordinator.
In addition to produce from local farmers, some fruits and vegetables served at school lunches come from the 29 school gardens in the county.