Farm to SchoolPrint Page
How many students at your school know where the sweet potatoes on their lunch tray come from? Farm to school is a national movement that helps connect kids to healthy, local food while also supporting local farmers and building communities. Farm to school initiatives can happen in the classroom through nutrition lessons and field trips to farms, in the school garden, or in the cafeteria by serving locally grown food for breakfast or lunch.
Want to start a farm-to-school program at your school? Get started!
- Assess what farm to school activities you might already have in place with these questions:
- Are local foods purchased, promoted and served in the cafeteria
- Do students receive education related to agriculture, food or nutrition
- Does your school have a school garden that students actively use?
- Work with your food service staff to determine what school breakfast or lunch menu items could be sourced locally, and determine a farmer or distributor who can connect you to local items.
- Provide signs in the cafeteria line to identify which items are sourced locally.
- Highlight the farmer and make a note of local foods on the monthly menu.
- Host a taste test in the cafeteria or classroom using locally sourced food.
- Plan a field trip to a local farm or orchard.
- Plan Harvest of the Month activities to feature a local food product that is in season.
- Start a school garden.
- Connect your school garden to the classroom and cafeteria through taste tests, nutrition education or other academic lessons.
- Create a farm to school bulletin board in a prominent location with photos of local produce, student work and upcoming activities.
Social Emotional Health Highlights
Activities such as these help students explore…
Social Awareness: Connecting with a local farm to teach about the sources of students’ food provides students an opportunity to explore new perspectives on food and society. Children can develop understanding of agriculture and the greater affect it has on their community’s health by engaging in Farm to School conversations.
Responsible Decision-Making: It is much easier for children to understand the importance of knowing where their food comes from when they can place a local farmer’s name or face with their food. Farm to School initiatives teach children ethical responsibility while forming deeper connections to one’s community.
October is National Farm-to-School Month. Coordinate your efforts to make the most of the resources available during this month.
Integrate farm to school language in your district or school wellness policy.
Apply for a grant to help start a program at your school or receive support to maintain existing initiatives.
Engage volunteers by inviting a local farmer to teach students about locally-sourced foods or asking parent volunteers to chop fruits and vegetables for a taste test, build planter beds, or help with garden maintenance and harvesting.