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The Farm to School Census is a national survey conducted by USDA FNS of farm to school activities .


Farm to School to Future!

Farm to School to Future
By FNCS Deputy Under Secretary Stacy Dean and MRP Deputy Under Secretary Mae Wu

Making varsity, attending prom, getting into college or finding a job upon graduation … all things that many high school students spend time thinking about. We'd wager that very few of them also spend time thinking about where their food comes from, how nutritious it is, or how it got to their plate. Unless, that is, they happen to be a student at William Penn High School in New Castle, Delaware.

We joined Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester at the school to celebrate National Nutrition Month, and learn about its innovative farm-to-school program developed with support from two USDA Farm to School grants. Program curriculum is integrated into many of the school's 24 different tracks that students can take to build and enhance their future careers - from agriculture to culinary arts to finance.

During our tour we visited greenhouses with lettuce and herbs to be used in school meals and saw their koi fish production setup. The farm manager and several teachers also expressed their pride in and dedication to the program. A few agricultural program students shared their experiences with us. One student, Mikayla, spoke passionately about how the program is helping prepare her for a future as a veterinarian. Culinary arts students, who helped prepare a delicious lunch for us, spoke about the value of hands-on learning they are receiving.

The school also leases a section of adjacent Penn Farm. While the fields were still empty (it was March after all), we learned about the upcoming planting and harvesting plans, as well as the community outreach activities conducted by William Penn students from across the academic spectrum. Farm produce and other plants will be sold at the school's farm stands, which participate in FNS's Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program.

Our visit showed us the willingness and ability of students and their teachers to take on activities and topics beyond the typical teen subjects and, with the help of the USDA, embrace nutrition and agriculture as an integral part of their high school experience.

Page updated: November 22, 2023
Resource | Training and Outreach Farm to School Resources

Find resources to implement, sustain and maintain your farm to school program. 

Resource | Factsheets Farm to School Fact Sheets

Factsheets are available under the following topics: Farm to School Grant Program, Farm to School Program Resources, Local Food Resources, School Gardens, Farm to School in Tribal Communities, Food Safety, Producers, Farm to Preschool. Farm to Summer, State Agencies and Cooperative Extensions, En Español.

Resource | Training and Outreach Farm to School Census FAQs

The 2023 Farm to School Census FAQ addresses common issues for school food authorities responding to the Farm to School Census. 

Resource | Training and Outreach I'm New to Farm to School

I'm New to Farm to School is a place full of resources to help you to get your farm to school program growing. 

Resource | Toolkits Farm to School Planning Toolkit

The Farm to School Planning Toolkit guides you though questions to consider and helpful resources to reference when starting or growing a farm to school program. 

Resource | Webinars/Videos Farm to School Grant Program: Tips for Developing Farm to School Grant Applications

The second webinar in a two part webinar series intended to help new Farm to School grant applicants with the grant development and submission process. This presentation provides tips on organizing and drafting the Farm to School grant project Narrative and organizing a project budget.

Resource | Research Reports | Assessing/Improving Operations Farm to School Census and Comprehensive Review

The Farm to School Census and Comprehensive Review includes the 2019 Farm to School Census; a descriptive review of the USDA Farm to School grant program; a review of published research on farm to school since 2010; and a set of interviews with school food distributors. 

Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2014-0073 Farm to School and School Garden Expenses

Recently, we have received several questions about the use of funds from the nonprofit school food service account to cover expenditures related to farm to school activities and school gardens. The questions and answers below address specific scenarios that school food authorities may be dealing with when considering the allowability of such costs.

Page updated: October 08, 2018