IRMO, SC - October is National Farm to School month and Lexington-Richland School District Five continues its commitment to improving nutritional outcomes of its students and the community it serves.
As a statewide leader for the Farm to School program, District Five has demonstrated a solid track record of implementation and sustaining systemic and locally-based changes that have resulted in greater access to locally grown and freshly prepared foods in schools, as well as project-based learning opportunities for students focused on nutrition and health.
“Nutrition education and agriculture will increase young people’s understanding and acceptance of new foods,” said District Five Director of Student Nutrition, Todd Bedenbaugh. “The Farm to Five program continues to engage students in District Five with an understanding where food comes from and how it’s grown and prepared.”
From school gardens and nutrition education programs at elementary schools, to increasing procurement of fresh produce at the district level, Bedenbaugh and his team are making measurable progress in how they integrate nutrition and health into all facets of their operations to promote wellness in children and adolescents.
By integrating Farm to Five with programs at The Center for Advanced Technical Studies (The Center), District Five has developed an innovative plan to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the Farm to Five program. The Center provides students the opportunity to remain enrolled in their high school and their major program of study at The Center by attending every other day in the morning or afternoon. At The Center, a Biosystems Engineering and Technology program area has allowed students and teachers to thrive and have proven to be invaluable to Farm to Five. From Farm to Five’s start, Biosystems students have built and installed over 15 raised beds and six composters, and have served as agricultural leaders to younger students.
October also served as crunch month in District Five. Irmo Middle School had cucumbers from local South Carolina farms. This event celebrated the region’s diversity and wide variety of products grown by local farmers. “The students at Irmo Middle School benefit greatly from the hands-on experiences that are directly attributed to the Farm to School program,” Irmo Middle School principal Robert Jackson said. “When our students have an opportunity to experience the taste and texture of fresh vegetables, it helps them develop an appreciation for them and encourages them to learn unique ways through science classes to create sustainable gardens.”