Get the details of the Farm to School Program that’s helping to take produce from the field to the lunch trays of local school children and educate them on agriculture.
October is National Farm to School Month. Agriculture is an important part of every community, and the Farm to School Program is a great example that highlights the impact of agriculture on our communities. The Farm to School Program helps put local produce in school cafeterias through utilizing a partner network that stretches across the nation. To date, it’s estimated that 42,587 schools in the U.S.—roughly 42% of all the schools in the country—participate in the program. And, with 40 states having policies that are supportive of the program, it’s an effort we can all get behind. Read the details of the program below, and see how it’s a win for kids, farmers, and communities alike.
Details of the Farm to School Program
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN), an information, advocacy, and networking hub bringing ag and communities together, called for the creation of National Farm to School Month via Congress in 2010. Since then, the network of partners and participants has only grown. The focus of the program is to “increase access to local food and nutrition education to improve children’s health, strengthen family farms, and cultivate vibrant communities.” The NFSN utilizes a system of over 15,000 partners around the country to support the program.
The program itself has three areas of focus:
- Procurement: Sourcing local foods to be bought and served in the cafeteria or as a snack or taste-test.
- Education: Students take part in education activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition.
- School gardens: Students engage in hands-on learning about agriculture through gardening.
Benefits of the Farm to School Program
The program itself is a win-win-win. Students benefit from healthy, high-quality foods from local sources, giving them the nutritional building blocks to aid learning. Additionally, they also learn about agriculture, healthy eating, and more through the program. According to the NFSN, over 23.5 million students have benefited from the program to date.
Furthermore, the program is also beneficial to farmers. Growers and producers have a dedicated market to sell their products, which presents an important financial opportunity to all in the ag industry. According to the NFSN, nearly $800 million has been paid to growers and producers for the purchase of local food.
Lastly, the community wins. The program itself builds community partners and a local network that can be utilized in a number of ways. The community also benefits from the dollars spent there, and the jobs created through the program, which in turn strengthens the community. Become a National Farm to School Network Member here.
At AgAmerica, we know that when ag wins, the community wins. Let us share with you how our custom loan packages can create a win for your agribusiness. Contact us to speak with a knowledgeable team member today.