Farm to School (F2S) is a program that is designed to make connections between local farms and food producers and schools. The purpose of the program is to improve student health and increase knowledge and awareness about nutrition and local food systems while supporting local agriculture. F2S programs have been shown to have benefits for students and schools, local farmers and food producers, and even the community in general.
F2S programs provide more local foods during school meals and help to expose students to foods that they may not have tried before. Exposing students to these new foods and offering more local fruits and vegetables can help students to have healthier, more balanced diets. F2S programs have been shown to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and even reduce rates of obesity and diabetes among students.
F2S programs also focus on teaching nutrition, healthy eating, local foods, and agriculture lessons and activities. These topics fit seamlessly into many different subjects including STEM subjects so they can be used to enhance lessons that are already being taught. When F2S topics are included in classrooms, students' have more opportunities to use problem-solving skills, learn about real-world problems, and incorporate more physical activity into their day. In addition to giving students the opportunity to engage in many valuable learning situations, F2S programs have also been shown to increase students' overall academic achievement.
Schools can benefit from F2S programs in a variety of ways through the cafeteria and in classrooms. F2S programs can increase the number of kids who purchase meals from the school which lowers meal program costs and increases income for the school. F2S programs can also increase the sense of belonging and pride among cafeteria staff which can lead to a better quality of food and increased employee retention rates. In addition to the benefits for the cafeteria, the education associated with F2S programs can help to increase health and wellness among teachers and staff. As mentioned above, these programs can also increase academic achievement among students which reflects well on the school and its educators.
F2S programs can increase income for local food producers and suppliers. Local producers who get involved with F2S programs may have new opportunities to sell their products, not only through the school but potentially with other community outlets as well.
F2S programs can also lead to benefits for the greater community. Production of new jobs, health benefits for parents and other family members, increased food security and decreased food waste are all potential benefits for communities whose schools have F2S programs. These programs are also environmentally friendly because they promote sustainable agriculture while also decreasing pollution.
Materials that were developed to promote the program and to educate students and families. Posters, Infographics, Newsletters, and Characters.
Last updated September 18, 2020