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Winners announced for 2013 Alaska Farm to School Challenge

(Palmer, AK) – The Division of Agriculture has announced three top prize winners for the 2013 Alaska Farm to School Challenge, held during October during National Farm to School Month. Students from more than 26 schools and more than 160 Alaska classrooms participated in the competition.

Out of 11 entries, three top prizes were awarded to farm-to-school projects developed in Homer, Anchorage and Palmer. The competition enabled anyone who teaches kids about agriculture and farming to submit a project to the challenge and win prizes to supplement their programs. 

The first-place winner was Louise’s Farm School of Palmer, which developed a local food cooking demonstration and presentation for the students by local chef Chris Pavadore. This well-publicized event involved a large variety of community members, including farmers, teachers, and student families. 

In second place, the 21st Century Community Learning Center program in Anchorage, in partnership with the Alaska Botanical Garden, grew crops indoors and held field trips to the botanical garden, as well as an event at a school Science Night to demonstrate how to cook foods harvested by students. 

In third place, Paul Banks Elementary School Garden in Homer involved pre-kindergarten through third-grade students in the planting, harvest, and serving of their own vegetable and herbs.  

The 11 projects submitted to this year’s competition included indoor and outdoor school gardens, harvest-yield experiments, field trips to local farms, culinary programs focusing on cooking local ingredients, composting, and community meals made from Alaska Grown foods.

The other participants included:

  • Airport Heights Elementary School Garden
  • Code GREEN (Chugiak High School)
  • Cooking Locally with the Little Red Hen (College Gate Elementary)
  • Food Day Fish to Schools Lunch (Sitka)
  • Haines Borough Schools Farm to School Program
  • It Makes Good Sense to Eat Locally (College Gate Elementary)
  • Nutritional Alaskan Foods
  • Peterson Elementary Garden Project

All entrants will receive prizes, thanks to a generous donation from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Obesity Prevention and Control Program. The three top winners will receive a prize package catered to each of their individual programs, as well as local and state recognition. 

For more information about the Alaska Farm to School Program, go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/ag/ag_FTS.htm.

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