Farm to School and Program Benefits

What is Farm to School?

Farm to school programs connect schools with local producers to bring locally grown or raised foods into school cafeterias, provide agriculture, health, and nutrition education opportunities, help students learn about where their food comes from, and support local farmers and communities.

Through these programs, children are reconnecting with their food, enjoying the taste and nutritional value of produce picked at peak ripeness, and learning about gardening, composting, and agriculture.

Farm to school program activities can happen in the cafeteria, classroom, and community, and may include any of the following:

  • Serving locally grown foods in the school meal programs
  • Incorporating food, agriculture, and nutrition into the curriculum
  • Hands-on learning through school gardening
  • Farm field trips
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Taste tests
  • Composting

Farm to School Benefits

Farm to school benefits students, schools, farmers, and communities.  Farm to school activities help create a healthy school environment and support the development of healthy eating habits for children.  Purchasing from local farmers strengthens the local economy and provides the opportunity to form positive relationships between schools and farmers.  Farm to school programs can be a way to engage parents, families, and the community in the school nutrition program.  To read a research-based overview of the benefits of farm to school and a list of sources, please see The Benefits of Farm to School from The National Farm to School Network.