PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia Farm to School Week is happening this week, October 2-6, with the “Crunch Heard ‘Round the Commonwealth” taking place on Thursday. Participants will take a bite out of a Virginia grown apple that day, all at the same time. Share your images and videos on social media using the hashtags #VACrunch and #VAFarmtoSchool.

In observance of Farm to School Week, Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Coons and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Joseph Guthrie are encouraging schools, businesses, and communities across the Commonwealth to recognize the importance of the state’s farm to school program. The program promotes schools, distributors and growers to work together to get more locally grown foods served in schools at all levels of learning.

“School divisions are implementing farm to school strategies that include local procurement, school gardens, farm visits, and cooking demonstrations,” Superintendent Coons said. “Virginia students are enjoying fresh locally grown foods while learning about good nutrition and the importance of family farming and agriculture to our communities and the commonwealth. Supporting student health and Virginia’s agriculture economy is a win-win.”

In 2007, Virginia became one of the first states to establish a Farm-to-School task force. The first Virginia Farm to School Week was held in 2009.

According to this U.S. Department of Agriculture report, there are currently 125 school divisions in Virginia with an active Farm to School program.