Loudoun students will enjoy another All-Star roster of farmer trading cards this spring, thanks to a strong collaboration between Loudoun Economic Development and the Loudoun County Public Schools’ Nutrition Services office.
The award-winning initiative, now in its sixth year, has become a favorite among students and farmers alike. This year, in addition to the physical cards, students will receive video messages from each of the featured farmers, showing them an educational aspect of farming.
“The farmer trading cards are a great reminder for families across the region that fresh products are back in season at Loudoun farms,” Loudoun Economic Development’s Executive Director Buddy Rizer explained. “For the farmers, this is a great opportunity to market their products at the start of the growing season and be recognized by the community. For students, it’s an introduction to the profession of farming, featuring heroes they can look up to.”
For LCPS Nutrition Services, farmer trading cards are an opportunity to teach while deepening relationships with area farms.
“We’re dealing with a childhood obesity epidemic in this country, and a proven strategy to combat that is through the introduction of nutritious foods at an early age,” Ms. Elizabeth B. Mills, School Nutrition Director said. “We’re fortunate to live in a climate that supports such a broad array of produce, protein and dairy, and LCPS Nutrition Services Program is committed to buying a portion of our produce from local businesses each year. Student consumption of produce appears to increase when they know where it was grown or if they’ve met the person who grew it. The personal connection seems to encourage eating healthy.”
This year’s starting nine is one of the most diverse to date, inclusive of demographics, locations around the county, and product offerings:
- Farmer Sharon, Sweet Piedmont Flowers;
- Farmer Elaine, Fields of Athenry;
- Farmer David, Second Spring Farm;
- Farmer Jens-Peter, Living Green Aquaponics & Microgreens;
- Farmer Yung Joon, Green Hills Garden & Nursery;
- Farmer Jim, Mountain View Farm;
- Farmer Vishali, Sprouting Roots Farm;
- Farmer Chris, Lutman Farm;
- Farmer Eden and Lincoln, Rivenwool Animal Rescue.
“We’re very proud of the rural industries that are represented on this year’s roster, which really showcases the #LoudounPossible opportunity,” Loudoun Agricultural Business Development Officer John Magistro said. “We have farms that opened during the COVID-19 pandemic and others that have called Loudoun home for generations. Many of these farms are on the cutting edge of innovation and have a bright future in the county.”
Cards will be distributed among elementary students at Loudoun’s public, charter, private and home schools.
Like many professions, farming has seen a labor shortage in recent years, and seasonal positions are available at many rural businesses across the county.
To learn more about the featured farmers, watch the spotlight videos and shop directly from the Loudoun Made Loudoun Grown Marketplace, please visit LoudounFarms.org.