BOSTON — The state Division of Marine Fisheries’ Massachusetts Seafood Marketing Program has partnered with the nonprofit Massachusetts Farm to School Project to promote the consumption of local seafood in schools.

“The Massachusetts commercial fishing and seafood industries provide delicious food and employment for thousands of people in the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Charlie Baker in a news release. “This is a great connection to make and we look forward to the partnership between Massachusetts fishermen and farm-to-school programs to provide the Commonwealth’s children with fresh, nutritious seafood products that support cognitive development.” 

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, in the release, said “Increasing sales of local seafood to schools will not only help find new markets for Massachusetts fishermen, but will also address the critical issue of access to healthy food, and introduce future consumers to the benefits of incorporating seafood into their diet.”

During the two-year partnership, the partners will promote seafood as part of Massachusetts Farm to School’s Massachusetts Harvest of the Month campaign, hold a series of local seafood cooking demonstrations for institutional food service providers, and have already offered a seafood focus track at the Massachusetts Farm & Sea to Cafeteria Conference in November 2016. 

“This partnership helps DMF better increase awareness and preference of Massachusetts seafood to support the Commonwealth’s seafood industry and communities by reaching schools, universities, and hospital food service staff, educators, and families though Massachusetts Farm to School’s network,” said DMF Director David Pierce. 

The Baker-Polito Administration launched the Massachusetts Seafood Marketing Program in August 2016 to increase awareness and demand for local seafood products and support Massachusetts’ fishing and seafood industries.

State Rep. Paul Schmid III, D-Westport, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, said the Farm to School program “has been immensely successful in the Commonwealth and including locally sourced seafood into the mix is a necessary and welcome progression.

“I am thrilled to see that the Baker-Polito Administration is further promoting seafood products here in Massachusetts while providing schools with fresh, local food,” Schmid said.

 And Rep. Susan Williams Gifford noted that “The Farm to School Project was discussed at our Massachusetts Seafood Marketing Steering Committee meeting earlier this month. I am delighted to see this official partnership facilitated by the Baker-Polito Administration.

“Massachusetts seafood is some of the best in the world and locally sourced seafood will be a healthy and delicious addition to menus across the Commonwealth in our schools,” Gifford said. 

Simca Horwitz, the Eastern Massachusetts Director of the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, said more than 150 K-12 schools, colleges, and hospitals in Massachusetts are participating in the campaign.