Educators, farmers, and state and local officials gathered with Preston Elementary School students to kick off the 8th annual Maryland Homegrown School Lunch week by eating healthy lunches, full of locally-grown fruits, vegetables, bison, chicken and crab. Officials enjoyed a tour of a couple of farms whose products were featured in the school lunches on September 10 and students enjoyed hands-on agricultural education activities.
Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder presented a proclamation from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to Preston principal Dr. Lois McCoy officially designating September 14-18 as Maryland Homegrown School Lunch Week.
Bartenfelder said the goal is to see more local, fresh food in school lunches. "Not only to improve childhood health but also to help them learn about the importance of our farms to our environment and daily lives. Homegrown School Lunch week not only provides effective learning activities, it can be an economic opportunity for Maryland farmers and it's fun for students and other participants."
At Preston, the students enjoyed lunches that included bison burgers (SB Farms, Hurlock); chicken taco sald (Perdue Farms, Salisbury); watermelon slices (Harris Farms, Preston): corn on the cob with cilantro butter (Taylor's Produce, Preston); and peach cobbler (Blades Orchard, Preston). Students also got the chance to sample watermelon gazpacho (Harris Farms, Preston and Clayton Farms, Denton); Maryland crab soup (Blough's Seafood, Denton and Clayton Farms, Denton); and cantaloupe soup (Clayton Farms, Denton).