HAVELOCK, N.C. — The goal of this year’s Farm to School Expo at W.J. Gurganus Elementary School was to show appreciation for local farmers who help make sure people in Eastern North Carolina and across the country are fed.

Not only did this year’s event showcase farmers, it also highlighted bees and the importance of their roles in food production and the importance of overall nutrition education.

Lauren Weyand, the nutrition director for Craven County Schools, said students were served foods grown locally and produced in North Carolina. They also got to see and learn more about egg production, dairy farming, produce and horticulture, students learned all aspects of farming that takes place here in North Carolina.

They even had a chance to learn how to milk a cow through a dairy simulator.

“I think there is no, to me, growing up with that appreciation as to wow, the farmers work hard to get food on the table and that’s where it starts,” Weyand said. “Wow, I think that turns a lightbulb on in most people’s heads and then they have a better appreciation of a lot of food.”

Weyand also said teaching students about locally grown food starts at home.

“We need to educate our students,” Weyand said. “I think parents, when you take the kids to the grocery store, point out, tell them, help them find the ones that are grown here in North Carolina.”

One of the vendors at the expo was the Craven-Pamlico Beekeepers Association. The beekeepers taught a number of topics, from helping farmers, the importance of pollination and safety when caring for bees. Looking into pollination, beekeepers say this is so important because without this step, food we eat wouldn’t be available. It’s an overall balance to the ecosystem.