Gov. Asa Hutchinson has proclaimed October as Arkansas Farm to School Month, joining national efforts to connect schools and other organizations with farms to bring local, healthy food to children, according to a news release.

“School gardens create valuable teaching experiences because they incorporate hands-on activities with lessons in food production and proper nutrition, and the overall importance of agriculture,” Hutchinson said. “I commend the efforts of educators and partners engaged in making our communities healthier through student-led food initiatives like school gardens.”

More than 42,500 schools joined the Farm to School movement across the U.S., engaging approximately 23.6 million students each year, including 192 schools and nearly 95,000 students in Arkansas, according to the release.

Ways to participate in Farm to School Month in Arkansas include:

• Schools: Plan a school garden through a FFA or 4H Club. Farm to School grants are available through a partnership between the Arkansas Agriculture Department and Farm Credit. Find out more at

• Schools: Create a Farm to School salad bar, using local products.

• Teachers: Organize a farm tour or trip to the local farmers’ market.

• Teachers: Connect garden-based, hands-on learning activities to curriculum.

• Families: Take the kids to the local farmers market or harvest festival.

• Families: Cook with seasonal products, and involve the entire family in meal preparation.

• Farmers: Connect with your local schools, and offer to provide farm visits or classroom presentations.

• Farmers: Connect with a local teacher to provide photos and stories to students about a farming operation.

Find additional resources for Farm to School activities and support at:

Find the full Arkansas Farm to School proclamation at

The Arkansas Farm to School Month Proclamation is supported by a group of Farm to School state and private partners, including: the Access to Healthy Foods Research Group at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, Arkansas Department of Education Child Nutrition Unit, University Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, Arkansas Minority Health Commission, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas MarketMaker, Healthy Active Arkansas, and the Arkansas Agriculture Department.