Farm to School
National Farm to School Network Nourishing Kids and Communities
Farm to School Definition: Farm to School is broadly defined as a program that connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers. Since each Farm to School program is shaped by its unique community and region, the National Farm to School Network does not prescribe or impose a list of practices or products for the Farm to School approach.
Farm to School at its core is about establishing relationships between local foods and school children by way of including, but not limited to:
• Local products in school meals –breakfast, lunch, afterschool snacks; and in classrooms – snacks, taste tests, educational tools
• Local foods related curriculum development and experiential learning opportunities through school gardens, farm tours, farmer in the classroom sessions, chefs in the classroom, culinary education, educational sessions for parents and community members, visits to farmers’ markets.
The National Farm to School Network aims to enable every child to have access to nutritious food while simultaneously benefiting communities and local farmers. The National Farm to School Network sprouted from the desire to support community-based food systems, strengthen family farms, and improve student health by reducing childhood obesity. The Network is a collaborative of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College and the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC). The Network coordinates, promotes and expands Farm to School at the state, regional and national levels. Eight regional lead agencies and national staff provide free training and technical assistance, information services, networking, and support for policy, media and marketing activities. The Farm to School approach helps children understand where their food comes from and how their food choices impact their bodies, the environment and their communities at large.
Buying local for your district can be easier than meets the eye. Get started by checking out these 10 facts compiled by the USDA about local food In school cafeterias.
"American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to saving America’s farm and ranch land, promoting environmentally sound farming practices and supporting a sustainable future for farms."
Helping Farms Access & Sell to Multiple Channels, Helping Large‐Volume Buyers Access Regional Foods. Produced by FarmsReach
"The Colorado Farm to School Task Force created this spreadsheet tool to help guide applicants through the USDA Farm to School grant application process. This spreadsheet has eight tabs. A short description of each tab follows the general instructions. Please note: THIS TOOL IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE GRANT RFA. Rather, it is merely a way to help you organize your tasks, assess your competitiveness, and guide you to maximize your success. You must also read the USDA Request for Applications for this grant opportunity."
"This report, authored by Rich Pirog of MSU CRFS and Corry Bregendahl of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, details the growth and achievements of the Regional Food Systems Working Group in Iowa over the past eight years."
Protocol on safely incorporating vegetables harvested by students from school gardens into school meals
If you want to avoid foods with the highest levels of pesticides, this chart will help inform your decisions. Learn about the "Dirty Dozen" (foods that are best to buy organic) and the "Clean 15" (foods with the lowest levels of pesticides).
Since 2004, the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems has conducted six surveys to understand the landscape of Farm to Institution efforts in Michigan. A new synthesis brings together this research to summarize what is currently understood about local food purchasing by institutions and about the producers who sell to them, what is still unknown and what next steps are being taken in the research.
See the synthesis and find individual survey summaries at http://foodsystems.msu.edu/activities/farm-to-school