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Interest in farm to school builds as documentary is shown across Minnesota

A new documentary titled "Farm to School: Growing Our Future" showcases Minnesota success stories, as well as challenges that stunt the growth of farm to school. The documentary is sparking new conversations about growing farm to school partnerships. People who attended screenings last week described it as an important educational tool, and are helping to boost attendance at future screenings across Minnesota this spring.

Farm to school connects schools with nearby farmers so that schools can buy fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods directly from local farmers. Such initiatives have been shown to increase young people's consumption of fresh produce while also boosting local economies. During the last four years, these types of partnerships have increased more than 10-fold, but some fear that obstacles are making it difficult to expand these partnerships to new communities.

The 30-minute television documentary was produced as a partnership among University of Minnesota Extension, the Minnesota Department of Health and Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Interested members of the public are invited to attend one of the nine remaining regional screenings and discussions scheduled around Minnesota this spring in:

Baudette, Minn., April 18

Thief River Falls, Minn., April 18

Fergus Falls, Minn., April 18

Waite Park, Minn., April 23

Olivia, Minn., April 24

St. Paul, Minn., April 25

Duluth, Minn., May 1

Minnetonka, Minn., May 14

Waseca, Minn., May 24

Registration is required. Details and online registration are available at www.extension.umn.edu/go/1103 .

The documentary project and scheduled screenings are part of a statewide effort to expand farm to school partnerships. Those who are unable to attend the scheduled screenings may order a DVD copy of the documentary from Extension and organize smaller screening in their communities. The documentary is available for less than $10 and comes with printed resources to assist in facilitating discussions and getting more involved with farm to school.

For more information, to order a copy of the documentary, and for a complete list of regional screenings, visit www.extension.umn.edu/farm-to-school .

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