The term 'farm to school' is generally understood to include efforts that connect schools with local or regional producers in order to serve local or regionally produced foods in school cafeterias.
Bringing more locally sourced, fresh fruits and vegetables into school cafeterias is a seminal activity of many farm to school efforts: procuring locally sourced, minimally processed main meal items so that the entire school meal is representative of regional options is also a focus of many farm to school programs. Thus, USDA considers farm to school to be inclusive of many types of producers, such as farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, as well as many types of food businesses, including food processors, manufacturers, distributors and other value-added operations.
In addition to procurement activities, food, agriculture and nutrition-based educational efforts that span a host of hands-on experiential activities, such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes, are also included in the concept of farm to school. Standards-based curriculum centered on food, agriculture, and/or nutrition often integrates as well.
With our school systems' diverse operations and demographics, farm to school activities can differ greatly across communities. Whether your school is in the beginning stages of farm to school activities or you are looking for information and tools to enhance your current farm to school efforts, we hope the information on this site will be of assistance.