Friday, October 29, 2021

Taste Washington Day 2021 – celebrating the farm to school connection

Amber Betts
WSDA Communications

All across the state this month, students tasted fruit and veggies grown right in their backyards by local farms as part of National Farm to School month. Many also participated in annual Taste Washington Day activities as a way to promote both the farm-to-school movement and Washington agriculture by serving local foods in school meals.

Coupeville schools, along with
many others across the state,
celebrated Farm to School Month
and Taste Washington Da
The activities to celebrate the month were as diverse as our schools and our farms.

WSDA Farm to School Purchasing Grant Specialist Annette Slonim saw this firsthand on Oct. 6, when she visited the Coupeville School District for Taste Washington Day.

More students there began eating school lunches when the Coupeville School District implemented the Connected Food program, focusing on scratch cooking and fresh, local ingredients. Student participation in the meal program increased from about 30 to 70 percent.

As part of the activities, Coupeville students enjoyed lamb from Bell’s Farm on Whidbey Island.

“It’s an incredible way to show our commitment to expanding economic opportunities for farmers while educating students about the connections between food, farming, health, and the environment,” Slonim said.

But Coupeville wasn’t the only district participating.

The Bellevue School District celebrated Taste Washington Day by adding kiwiberries, grown in Whatcom County, to the day’s selection of fruit. Kiwiberries look like kiwi fruit without the fuzzy hair on the skin and are the size of grapes.

The Dayton School District featured Honeycrisp apples and Bosc pears from Warren Orchards. And, in Bellingham, students were served a vegan chickpea masala, featuring garbanzo beans from Palouse, Washington. Middle and high school students ate salmon chowder featuring wild salmon from Lummi Island.

Schools across the state joined in on
integrating locally grown produce in their
school meals, including foods grown in their
veryown school garden. 
These are just a few of the many locally grown and raised food students enjoyed across the state.

Another feature of the month-long celebration was the Washington Apple Crunch, also held on Oct. 6. The aim is for participants around the state to crunch into their apples at the same moment as a way to highlight local growers and fresh fruit. Grandview School District in south central Washington gave out fresh apples from Magaña Farms to every student and staff member to take a big, crunchy bite! Pullman School District in eastern Washington also participated, crunching into organic Jonagold or Gala apples from Whitestone Mountain Orchard.  

Visit to learn more about how WSDA is incorporating local agriculture in the everyday lives of schoolchildren, one lunch at a time.