Biloxi students feast on cafeteria food grown in Mississippi

Biloxi students feast on cafeteria food grown in Mississippi

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - From Oct. 3 - 7, Biloxi students are getting a taste of fresh farm food during "National Farm Month".

To celebrate "Farm to School Week", schools in Biloxi are serving up meat, fish and produce that are grown in Mississippi.

"Everything on the menu is Mississippi. It's all local," said Cindy Cowan with Chartwells School Dining Services.

On Wednesday, many students dressed as farmers and lined-up in the cafeteria at Popp's Ferry Elementary. They filled their trays with catfish from the Delta, ground beef from Summit, and sweet potatoes from Natchez.

"When they go to the grocery store, they don't realize that it's actually grown local. The satsumas are actually in Gulfport, and when I tell them it's a you-pick-it-farm and you can actually go pick it, and they're just like, 'What?' They're so excited," said Cowan.

The students also bought produce at a small farmer's market that was set up outside the cafeteria. They used the "Veggie Bucks" they earned for eating breakfast and lunch at school during the week.

One class even grew a garden of herbs, tomatoes, celery, collard greens, even strawberries and pineapples.

"There's a lot of food," said third grader Haller Grace Cole. "I didn't know where it came from, but now I do."

State education and agriculture representatives also seemed impressed as they observed the tasty lesson in action.

"Fantastic, this is one of the better ones we've been to. I like the excitement of the kids, and how the staff interacts with the children and explains things about the food," said Donna Stubbs, Food Distribution Specialist for the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Child Nutrition.

It is the Biloxi School District's third year hosting "Farm to School Week". The goal is to plant the seeds of appreciation for nutritious foods, and the farmers who grow them.

In 2016, MDE ordered more than $776,000 worth of Mississippi-grown produce for participating schools.

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