Ventura County schools are now getting the majority of their produce straight from local farms.
This year six school districts in Ventura County are participating in the in the Farm to School program. The program not only partners schools with local farmers. It also educates the students about the importance of eating healthy and local.
"How often do we drive down the 101 and see all those farms and really have no idea on what's growing and where it is going? So when we are using those vegetables in our schools, it really brings kids into awareness of what a rich agricultural community that they live in and that they eat from," said Join the Farm educator Erynn Smith.
School leaders, local farmers and community partners had the opportunity on Friday to see exactly where local produce comes from. The tour stopped at four Ventura County farms, including McGrath Family Farm, San Miguel Produce and Join the Farm.
Join the Farm is in Santa Paula. It is just one of several farms that supply Ventura County schools with produce. Every single week the five-acre farm grows more than a 1,000 pounds of vegetables for Ventura County schools, including 700 pounds of carrots.
The program not only helps the local economy but it also provides on-sight nutrition education to the schoolchildren.
"Education really supports those healthy choices. We connect with the students going into the classroom and share with the students about our farm, how we grow and how the nutrients in the veggies make them so healthy. It really helps them and supports them making those healthy choices in the cafeteria," said Smith.
Last year the school districts spent more than $2.5 million on local produce. That number is only expected to increase as more schools get involved.