BCBSNC Foundation grant drives more N.C. produce to more N.C. students
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Posted by: Cindy Frantz
From: NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation
has invested $1.2 million to expand the North Carolina Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Farm to School Program in response
to the growing problem of childhood obesity in North Carolina. The
grant provides funding for five new refrigerated tractor-trailers,
increasing the distribution of local fruits and vegetables to 35 additional school systems statewide.
"This expansion of the Farm to School program provides
even more students with healthy, North Carolina-grown options,
and helps children connect their food to the farms where it grows,
which are all important steps in preventing and reducing obesity,” said
Kathy Higgins, BCBSNC Foundation president. "Our state’s child
nutrition services focus on health and quality for our students and
local, fresh food is an important component.”
Standing beside one of the Farm to School
Program's new tractor-trailers are, from left, Agriculture Commissioner
Steve Troxler, Marilyn Moody, senior director of child nutrition for
Wake County Schools; Kathy Higgins, president of the Blue Cross Blue
Shield of North Carolina Foundation; and Brad Wilson, CEO of Blue Cross
Blue Shield of North Carolina.
In addition to the tractor-trailers, the grant supports a
three-year Farm to School marketing initiative to teach children about
what is being served in their school cafeteria, where it is grown, how
to make healthy food choices and the importance of a healthy diet,
as well as raise the profile of the Farm to School program among
school systems across the state. Access to healthy food and the
education to make smart choices are more important than ever as one in
three children in North Carolina is obese or at risk of becoming obese.
"North Carolina school children are not the only
beneficiaries from the expansion of the Farm to School program. Local
farmers also benefit by serving the increasing number of schools
receiving farm-fresh food,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
"More North Carolina school children will receive fresh produce, more
often. And farmers will increase their customer base. The expansion of
this program is a win for our entire state.”
N.C. Farm to School has been supplying North Carolina
school cafeterias with locally grown produce since 1997. Last year the
program served more than 900,000 students almost 1.4 million pounds of
fresh fruits and vegetables. Farm-fresh produce is provided throughout
the school year and includes apples, blueberries, broccoli crowns,
cabbage, cantaloupes, collards, cucumbers, peaches, romaine lettuce,
squash, sprite melons, strawberries, sweet corn, sweet potatoes,
tomatoes, watermelons and zucchini.
For more information, follow @BCBSNCFound and @NCAgriculture on Twitter or visit the Farm to School program website at www.ncfarmtoschool.com.
About NC Farm to School
The N.C. Farm to School Program was formed in 1997 by the
North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Food
Distribution and Marketing divisions to develop a system for schools
across the state to receive fresh produce grown by local farmers. All
school districts in North Carolina have the ability to be part of the
Farm to School Program.
About the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services provides services that promote and improve agriculture and
agribusiness, protect consumers and businesses, and preserve farmland
and natural resources for the prosperity of all North Carolinians.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Foundation is a separate, independent, nonprofit Foundation dedicated to
improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians. The
Foundation's focus areas include: Health of Vulnerable Populations - improving health outcomes of populations served by safety net organizations; Healthy Active Communities - increasing physical activity and encouraging healthy eating habits; and Community Impact through Nonprofit Excellence
- increasing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations. BCBSNC
Foundation invests programs and services in response to grant requests
and proactively creates initiatives or partners with organizations to
address specific needs. It also coordinates several Signature Programs,
among them, the Be Active Kids® and Healthy Community Institute for
Nonprofit Excellence.More information is available at www.bcbsncfoundation.org.
Since its founding in 2000, the BCBSNC Foundation has invested $80.5
million into North Carolina communities through more than 600 grants.