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S.C. Farm to School program receives financial boost

The South Carolina Farm to School program  has gained important financial support from Greenville’s Whole Foods Market,  the state Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.

“This Upstate retailer has offered a portion of one day’s  pre-tax revenue to promote health, sustainable agriculture and environmental  conservation,” said Holly Harring, Ph.D. and statewide coordinator of the Farm  to School program. “On May 8, Whole Foods Market on Woodruff Road will donate 5  percent of each sale. Every shopper will be demonstrating their support with  every purchase made that day.”

According to Dr. Harring, the S.C. Farm to School program  facilitates connections between farms and schools to improve the nutritional  quality of school meals while supporting the state’s farmers. The program  currently supports partnerships with 52 schools and more than 40 participating  farms across the state.

“Farm to School helps provide healthy options for students  and increases the share of the food dollar coming back to our own farmers,”  said Hugh Weathers, S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture. “With millions of meals  served in lunchrooms across the state, school foodservice working with local  farmers has the potential to make a difference in building stronger bodies and,  at the same time, building stronger local economies.”

“Four times a year, Whole Foods Market Greenville donates 5%  of a day’s sales to give back to our local communities by providing support to  nonprofit organizations,” said Keri Moore, marketing coordinator for Whole  Foods.

“Proceeds will go toward efforts to sustain and support the  expansion of the Farm to School program to more schools in the Greenville area  and across South Carolina,” Harring said. Currently, Chenydale Elementary and  St. Anthony of Padua are two Greenville-area schools receiving grant funds from  the program.

“We remain dedicated to instilling the value of health and  agriculture among children,” Harring said, “and we need support from our  community partners to continue this work.”

S.C. Farm to School originated as a two-year project funded  by a grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and  supported by collaborative efforts from the state’s Department of Education,  Department of Agriculture, Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute and  DHEC. The program works to increase the number of farmers certified to provide  locally grown products to schools, provide education to foodservice staff and  teachers on Farm to School practices, and develop hands-on learning activities  to promote healthy eating among school children. More can be found online at http://scfarmtoschool.com/.