This year marks the 10th anniversary of National Farm to School Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the connection between children and local food. Now more than ever, we know that it takes a community to feed a community. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School census, more than 42,500 schools in the nation have farm to school programs and this year we’re celebrating the people behind the scenes that help keep our kids fed because without them, farm to school wouldn’t be a possibility.
What is farm to school?
Farm to school programs were created so kids have access to healthy, locally produced foods. It not only helps local farmers but it empowers children and families to make informed food choices. With farm to school, everyone benefits! Kids get to eat nutritious local food, teachers, students and administrators have an opportunity to build family and community engagement, and it also serves as a significant financial opportunity for farmers as well as strengthening the local economy.
Every school is different but to be a part of the farm to school program they must include at least one or more of the following:
- Procurement: Students K-12 have access to local foods in the cafeteria or as a snack or taste-test
- School gardens: Students K-12 have access to hands-on learning through a school garden
- Education: Students K-12 participate in education activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition
How Can You Celebrate?
This October, celebrate the community members who are making farm to school programs successful year after year. Without farmers, cafeteria workers, teachers, gardeners, bus drivers, volunteers and advocates, our children wouldn’t have access to healthy meals.
Join the conversation and celebrate National Farm to School Month by:
- Nominating a Community Food Champion – Nominate a local community member that is contributing to getting families the nutritious food they need. Nominate them to receive a $500 honorarium and be named a
- National Farm to School Network Community Food Champion. Nominate a champion here.
- Take Social Action – Support local farmers by following and sharing content from their pages to spread awareness of local farming efforts, nutrition tips, healthy recipes and more. You can find our Dairy Resource
- Toolkit for parents and educators on our website. It’s packed with dairy nutrition, kid-friendly recipes, on the farm information, dairy food safety, all about milk, and fun activity sheets.
- Spread the Word – Share why farm to school programs are important on social media with the hashtags #F2SMonth and #Farmtoschool and follow/like the National Farm to School Network on Facebook.
When people choose to eat local nutritious foods, they reduce their chances of developing chronic diseases and have better physical and mental health. This and every month, help us support local farmers and community members that help teach our kids to eat healthy.