When kids are given the opportunity to taste fresh food, meet the farmers and producers that raise it, and connect these experiences to the earth through school gardens, they are more likely to eat healthier, improve academic performance, positively change family eating habits at home and support community businesses like family farms. This is called “farm to school.”
Across the country, 42 percent of school districts are participating in farm to school activities, and as a result, 23.6 million students are developing healthy eating habits and learning where their food comes from. According to the National Farm to School Network, the ways in which schools are adopting farm to school practices varies by location but always includes one or more of the following:
- Changes in school meals procurement to purchase and promote local foods
- Food and agriculture-based learning opportunities to enhance the quality of the educational experience, promote public health outcomes and better understanding of our food system
- School gardens for kids to engage in hands-on learning, school food production and become well-balanced community citizens
By adopting farm to school practices, kids, communities and farmers all win!
Community Commons has recently added data from the USDA Food Nutrition Service showing which school districts around the country are adopting or planning to adopt farm to school policies. Areas in dark blue indicate an active involvement and implementation of programs and policies in the 2013-2014 school year. Areas in light blue indicate plans for implementation in future school years. Areas in yellow indicate no activities and no current plans.
Click anywhere on the map to learn more about the school district and the nature of their participation.
This most current data from the USDA shows that 42% of all schools in the nation and nearly 24 million children are impacted by this program. If you would like to learn more about the Farm to School program contact the National Farm to School Network at [email protected].