North Carolina Summer Nutrition Programs are adding a focus on farms to the food, fitness and fun they provide to children by offering foods grown locally and educational activities about agricultural, food and nutrition. This year’s Farm to Summer feature is a win for kids, farmers, schools and communities.
From July 6 through July 12, N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs are celebrating the bounty of the seasonal harvest through Farm to Summer Week. The N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s School Nutrition Services section is partnering with the Brigade Boys & Girls Club in Wilmington, a Summer Nutrition Program sponsor, to celebrate the peak of the summer harvest and Farm to Summer Week on Wednesday, July 10, from 12 to 4:30 p.m. The event will offer children a free lunch featuring locally grown foods and a farm-to-table carousel of activities, including a culinary demonstration, a Feast Down East farmer visit, information tables by local grocers, a produce market, samples of smoothies and other local food recipes, a meet and greet with state and local officials and a visit from Ray F. Sun, the N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs mascot.
There are numerous benefits to bringing the farm to summer sites. Summer Nutrition Program sponsors can increase participation by improving the quality and appeal of meals and by keeping kids engaged through fun, hands-on activities. Regional producers benefit from a reliable outlet for their products during the summer months. Kids and teens access fresh, nutritious meals and experiential learning activities at meal sites and staying nourished and active while school is out.
N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs ensure that economically disadvantaged children up to age 18 continue to receive nutritious meals and educational enrichment when school is out. NCDPI’s School Nutrition Services partners with local agencies and organizations to offer Summer Nutrition Programs in schools, public housing centers, playgrounds, camps, parks, medical centers, faith-based facilities, libraries and other sites where children gather in low-income areas (where 50 percent or more of the students qualify for no-cost or reduced-price school meals). Meals are served to eligible children at no cost. Registration and ID are not required. To find a summer meals site near you:
- Text “FoodNC” to 877-877,
- Call toll-free 1.866.3Hungry (1.866.348.6479) or 1.877.8Hambre (1.877.842.6273), or
- Visit the USDA’s Summer Meal Site Finder, https://www.fns.usda.gov/SummerFoodRocks.
For questions about the Farm to Summer kickoff at Brigade Boys & Girls Club, contact Allison Mayfield. Additional information regarding N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs can be found on NCDPI’s School Nutrition Services website. Citizens and organizations interested in getting involved as a sponsor, site, activity provider, or volunteer should contact NCDPI Summer Nutrition Programs Manager Cynthia Ervin.