PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Yesterday, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with Farm Fresh Rhode Island, joined students at Hamilton Elementary School in North Kingstown for their Harvest Lunch: a celebration of the vegetables grown by students in the school's garden. As part of the festivities, Sue AnderBois, Rhode Island's first director of food strategy, read a proclamation on behalf of Governor Gina M. Raimondo, officially declaring October Farm-to-School Month in Rhode Island. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rhode Island leads the nation in farm-to-school participation - with more than 90 percent of the state's school districts hosting one or more programs that help children learn about agriculture and where food comes from. North Kingstown recently received the USDA "One in a Melon" award for its exemplary program which includes serving local products as part of school meals, bringing the farm into the classroom through growing gardens, and participating in Farm Fresh Rhode Island's "Harvest of the Month." The Rhode Island Fruit Growers Association is a co-sponsor of October's "Harvest of the Month" which is apples. There are 23 apple orchards in the state – with many offering pick-your-own opportunities. For a complete list of growers, visit www.rifruitgrowers.org.