Harvest of the Month program to select one Central Louisiana school

CLEDAALEXANDRIA – Calls are going out to Central Louisiana schools interested in a statewide program that provides locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables to the student body. The Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education (SARE) program will select only one Central Louisiana school for the Harvest of the Month pilot.

The purpose of the Louisiana Harvest of the Month project is to increase access to local produce in schools, encourage students to make healthy food choices, provide information so that students better understand where food comes from, and support our community and farmers through increased purchases of local food.

School representatives or anyone interested in learning more about this program and the selection process are asked to join an informational session conference call at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 23. Visit FreshCentral.org to learn more and register for the call.

The selected Central Louisiana school will get: introduction of a fruit and vegetable each month; promotional and educational materials for classrooms, libraries and cafeterias; Harvest of the Month cards and Farmer of the Month posters and cards; food tastings and “I tried it” stickers; monthly newsletters for students, parents and teachers; and Harvest of the Month menus and menu templates, book marks and other support materials.

“This is a right-sized, creative and manageable opportunity for one of our schools to introduce local foods and farmers to its students,” said Jim Clinton, president and CEO of Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “SARE has built a program that fosters a relationship between students, the food they eat and the farmers who grow it while mitigating the expense, equipment and time constraints that often stall such efforts.”

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is a USDA competitive grants program supporting agriculture that is profitable, environmentally sound, and good for communities.

The Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance is an organization that consists of the economic development entities from the parishes of Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn. CLEDA’s mission is to help people prosper in vibrant, thriving communities.

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