According to the National Farm to School Network, there are an estimated 2,571 Farm to School Programs in the United States. These programs are active in all 50 states, and they aim to improve student nutrition by encouraging a connection between local farms and school cafeterias.
Farm to School programs are incredibly diverse and creative. No two seem to be the same. Educators typically take it upon themselves to create, establish, and maintain these programs with the help of their community.
In celebration of National Farm to School month, Learning ZoneXpress offers great resources to promote healthy eating with local foods offered on your serving line. Here are a couple of our favorites, but visit our Farm to School resources page to view all of them!
Benefits of Farm to School programs from the National Farm to School Network:
- The choice of healthier options in the cafeteria through Farm to School meals results in consumption of more fruits and vegetables with an average increase of 0.99 to 1.3 servings per day, including at home.
- Schools report a 3 to 16 percent increase in school meal participation when farm-fresh food is served through Farm to School programs.
- Farm to School programs open new markets for farmers and help expand their customer base by raising awareness about local food systems.
- Farm to School programs are also known to increase school meal participation rates.
Do you have a Farm to School Program? If so, we'd love to hear about it. We may even feature it on our Smart School Lunch blog!
If you don't have a Farm to School Program in place, October is the perfect time to change that. The National Farm to School Network has incredible resources on starting one in your own community. Visit their "How to Start a Program" page to learn more!