Capital Roots initiative for higher quality food in schools

Albany County

VOORHEESVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — October is National Farm-to-School Month, a time to expand the farm network and reach more school districts, so kids can eat healthier. Capital Roots is a major organization helping to make that happen on a weekly basis, bringing local farms to local schools.

“We know that schools want to be able to serve fresh quality and local food but it is very difficult for them to do that,” Capital Roots CEO, Amy Klein said. “It’s difficult for the farms to sell to individual schools, so we make those transactions happen.”

The Capital Roots farm-to-school program works with 51 schools in 33 districts in the greater Capital Region, and they say the last thing that students and their parents should worry about is healthy food at school.

“It’s not just a concern of one type of school district. It’s not just an interest in one type of school district and it’s not just possible in one school district,” Klein said. “It’s really a shame when you see Washington State apples brought to our school menus instead of Washington County apples.”

Initially, the goal was just to get local farm apples on the lunch menu. Now, Klein says schools are buying much more. They’ve added a wide variety of vegetables into the mix, sending out over 85,000 pounds of food last year alone.

“They are not buying it for the heck of it, they’re buying it because kids are eating it. I think that when we think that kids won’t eat fruits vegetables, and that we need to cater to the idea that kids don’t want to eat fruits and vegetables, it’s not true. If it’s good quality, they’re going to eat it,“ Klein said.

It’s not just beneficial for the kids, but for the farms and to keep things hyperlocal.

“They need our support and they keep their money local, our farms do,” Klein said. “When we support our local farms, we support local economy and that is so critically important.”

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