Farm to School programs link children to nearby small and mid-size farms and ranches that produce fresh, healthy and minimally processed foods that are served at their schools. Aimed at educating children about where and how their food is grown, strengthening local economies and supporting healthy eating habits, the Farm to School movement is rapidly growing.

Farm to School advances the following goals:

  • Promote children’s health by providing fresh, healthy and minimally processed foods in schools and supporting the development of healthy eating habits
  • Enhance children’s “food literacy” by familiarizing them with foods grown nearby, teaching them how and where their food is grown, building knowledge about how to prepare healthy foods, and educating them about the health, nutrition, social and environmental impacts of food choices Strengthen local economies by expanding markets for small and mid-size agricultural producers and food entrepreneurs whose products have typically been unavailable in school meal programs
  • Build vibrant locally oriented food systems by fostering positive relationships and increase understanding of local food systems among children, farmers, parents, educators and school districts, healthcare professionals, and other community members Advance environmental stewardship, where practicable, by supporting more sustainable food production methods, reducing reliance on long distance transportation, and reducing food waste

Celebrating National Farm to School Month

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) is celebrating because October is National Farm to School Month! For 30 years, IATP has been at the center of the local food movement, presenting an alternative vision to factory farming and industrial food. Nowhere is this work seen more profoundly than in our Farm to Institution Program.

High tunnels can bring benefits to farmers and schools

High tunnels—also known as hoop houses or passive solar greenhouses—are an increasingly common feature on farms through the Upper Midwest, where their use provides valuable extension to the region’s short growing season.  Local food markets—including farm to school—stand to benefit from the increased availability of fruits and vegetables throughout the year produced by the increased use of high

Serving grains and legumes the Farm to School way

New school meal standards set by the federal Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act have been getting a lot of press lately. To provide healthier meals, the bill upped requirements for servings of whole grains and legumes. Farm to School programs are one way to meet this requirement while taking advantage of healthy, regionally grown products and supporting local farmers.