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