Arkansas Farm to School Award Winners Announced

LITTLE ROCK, AR. (Jan. 14, 2016) — A group of Hmong farmers that has outgrown the buying power of their local farmers market is now looking to schools as a new customer. A public school with a thriving school garden needs equipment to process the garden harvest and serve in cafeteria meals. And a school that is already serving local produce in the cafeteria needs educational and marketing materials to draw students back into the school meals program. 

The Farm to School Awards program is helping all of these organizations, and others across the Natural State grow their farm to school programs. The awards were provided through a USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant received by the Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) Research Institute and its Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Program (COPRP).

“Farm to school initiatives enrich the connection communities have with fresh, healthy and local food by changing purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools,” said Emily English, program administrator for the COPRP and Arkansas State Lead for the National Farm to School Network.

Across the state, 44 organizations have received awards through this one-time program. To be eligible, applicants had to attend a one-day farm to school workshop sponsored by the COPRP. Applicants could choose from a variety of equipment, including food preparation equipment for school cafeterias, crates for the transportation of fresh produce, and educational and marketing materials for engaging students in farm to school initiatives.

The farm to school movement has helped farmers connect with their communities and fill gaps in their sales.

“We've been participating in farm to school for two years,” said Tom Green, a certified organic farmer and owner of Green Acres Farm in Atkins, Ark. “We have developed relationships with the schools that have proven invaluable. Farm to school has allowed us to expand the growing season with a reliable winter market. These markets have provided us with an opportunity to increase sales while impacting the health and future of the next generation.  ”

With the awards, the COPRP hopes that more communities will get the jumpstart they need to start or expand their farm to school program. Andrew Carberry with COPRP, says, “farm to school practices can be put in place by any farm or school, but we have seen that with a little outside support, communities can go further, faster. These awards are meant to support those already headed down that path, and empower those just getting started.”

For a complete list of farm to school award recipients, see arkansasfarmtoschool.org.

The Arkansas Grow Healthy Study is supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant No. 2011-68001-30014 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. Over the past century, ACH has grown from a small orphanage in Little Rock to a statewide network of care that includes an expansive pediatric teaching hospital and research institute, as well as regional clinics in several counties. ACH also reaches children across the state and nation through a range of telemedicine capabilities that ensures every child has access to the best care available, regardless of location or resources. The hospital’s campus in Little Rock spans 36 city blocks and houses 370 beds, a staff of 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. A campus under development in northwest Arkansas will bring 225,000 square feet of inpatient beds, clinic rooms and diagnostic services to children in that region of the state. A private nonprofit, ACH boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking research — all dedicated to fulfilling its mission of championing children by making them better today and healthier tomorrow. For more info, visit archildrens.org.

ACHRI provides a research environment on the ACH campus to meet the needs of University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences faculty.  Research scientists at ACHRI conduct clinical, basic science, and health services research for the purpose of treating illnesses, preventing disease and improving the health of children everywhere.

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List of Farm to School Award Winners

Name of School or Farm: County:
Apple Seeds Plant to Plate Program Washington
Apple Seeds Teaching Farm Washington
Armorel Public Schools Mississippi
Bald Knob Farm Boone
Bayyari Elementary School Washington
Bergman School District Boone
Conway Public Schools Faulkner
Country Girl Health Organic Farm Hempstead
Danville Public Schools Yell
Elaine Community Opportunity Seekers Phillips
EveretteBrown Farm LLC Conway
Fayetteville Public Schools Washington
First Ward Learning Center Jefferson
Five Acre Farms White
Food for Thought Garden, University of the Ozarks Johnson
Genoa Central School District Miller
Green Acres Atkins Pope
Greene County Tech School District Greene
GreenForest School District Carroll
Harrisburg High School Poinsett
Harrisburg Weiner Elementary Poinsett
Hellstern Middle School Washington
Hmong National Development Benton
Jasper Newton
Kingston School Madison
Lamar School District Johnson
Lawrence County Farm to School (Walnut Ridge) Lawrence
Lincoln Consolidated School District Washington
Mahler Farms Boone
Monticello Intermediate School Drew
MooTown Farm Craighead
Nettleton Public Schools Craighead
Oark High School Johnson
Pangburn White
Peach Pickin' Paradise Johnson 
Fayetteville Farmers Market Arkansas
Sloan-Hendrix School Lawrence
Smackover Elementary School Union
Subiaco Abbey Logan
Tri Cycle Farms Inc. Washington
Two Rivers School District Yell
Western Yell County School Yell
Yellville Summit School Garden Marion
Yellville-Summit School District Arkansas
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