Farm to School Initiative

Posted on 01/26/2010 at 12:00 AM by Christa Hartsook

The Farm to School initiative is an effort to connect schools (K - 12) with regional or local farms in order to serve healthy meals using locally produced foods. Farm to School activities may vary from community to community depending upon demographics; however, the basic goals remain the same:

  • To meet the diverse needs of school nutrition programs in an efficient manner
  • To support regional and local farmers and thereby strengthen local food systems
  • To provide support for health and nutrition education.

The USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is focusing on Farm to School efforts that incorporate regional and local farm products into school meal programs. Schools and communities may initiate and support a variety of Farm to School activities, including nutrition education, agriculture-related lessons and curriculum, school or community gardens, farm tours, taste testing, and parent/community educational sessions.
USDA recognizes the growing interest among school districts and communities to incorporate regionally and locally produced farm foods into the school nutrition programs. USDA is supporting Farm to School efforts through a number of initiatives, and continues to look for ways to help facilitate this important connection.

The USDA established "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food," an initiative which focuses on the importance of understanding where our food comes from and how it gets to our plate. In response to the growing demand for Farm to School activities, the "USDA Farm to School Team" was developed out of the "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" Initiative. Learn more about USDA's Farm to School Team.

Tell us your thoughts on this program and efforts to bring local food to school children.