What is Farm to School?
The term Farm to School encompasses efforts that bring local or regionally produced foods into school cafeterias and classrooms; hands on learning activities such as school gardening, farm visits, and culinary classes; and the integration of food-related education into classroom curriculum. Farm to School promotes the health of children, farms and communities by connecting schools to local farms that supply nutritious, fresh, and minimally processed foods. To learn more about the benefits of Farm to School, check out the National Farm to School Network’s Benefits of Farm to School handout.
There are a number of ways schools can implement Farm to School programs. Research has shown that the most beneficial impacts occur through the implementation of comprehensive Farm to School programs. However, impacts are seen at all levels of farm to school implementation, and even the smallest efforts can be a catalyst towards the broader movement. Comprehensive programs contain elements of strong local procurement, nutrition and agricultural education, hands-on learning, and school gardens but even beginning foundational programs are considered farm to school programs.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and Wisconsin legislation support Farm to School efforts. Additional partners in the Wisconsin Farm to School movement include:
What local foods can we serve?
DPI Farm to School Contacts
If you are interested in starting a Farm to School program at your school or district, please feel free to contact our Farm to School Specialists with questions. We also love sharing your success stories in our quarterly newsletter, so make sure to call or email us with exciting updates on your Farm to School program!
Early Care and Education
Have an Early Care Center? Check out the Farm to Early Care and Education web page.