What is the Farm to School Initiative?
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 document linked below provides a one-page facts sheet on the USDA Farm to School Initiative:
What is the
History of Farm to School?
Since the passage of the National School Lunch Act in 1946, key legislation has played an essential role in providing our Nation's children with access to healthier meals. Programs like the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) have provided-and continue to provide-nutritionally balanced and low-cost or free meals and snacks to children each school day. The document linked below provides an overview of key legislation related to Farm to School.
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.
What is USDA's Involvement in Farm to School?
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.
Launched in 2009, the
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative has been working with the USDA’s 17 agencies to coordinate USDA’s work and investments in local and regional food systems. 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.