Farm to School Programs
Image by CCE Niagara County

Farm to School

What is Farm to School?

Farm to School initiatives are popping up throughout New York and all over the country – in day care centers, in public and private schools, and in colleges and universities. These programs focus on featuring locally grown, healthy foods in school meals. They often also include other components such as classroom lessons on food and nutrition; visits to farms and farmers’ markets; creation of school gardens, and the support of school-based community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.

What is Local?

Local means many different things to different people. To some, local could be within a 30 mile radius, where other organizations have expanded that radius to 400 miles! Some organizations do not qualify something as local based on the distance traveled, but by whether the product was made in that state, or surrounding states. According to New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, "local" refers to any product grown or produced in the state of New York. 

The 3 C's of Farm to School

  • Cafeteria - Serving local produce in school meals
  • Classroom - Teaching students about the importance of agriculture
  • Community - Involving the collective wisdom of the community, helping the farmers and families that live in the community gain a stronger connection to the schools through field trips, lectures, and other events.

Benefits of Farm to School

Research shows Farm to School provides a multitude of benefits.

  • Prepares children to learn: Diet quality and nutritional status are associated with a child’s ability to focus and learn. By providing fresh, nutritious and delicious schools meals, a student’s academic performance may be enhanced.
  • Improves health and well-being: Establishing healthy diets in childhood – those rich in a diversity of fruits and vegetables – is important for life-long well-being. Farm to School, with its focus on a well-balanced diet including fresh, minimally processed fruits and vegetables, offers schools an exciting way to positively impact children’s health and well-being throughout their lives.
  • Strengthens the local economy: By supporting local farmers and distributors, schools help keep and re-circulate dollars in the local economy. Also, any purchase of New York State product contributes to the NYS tax base, which in turn, funds NYS public schools.
  • Building healthy communities: By connecting health concerns, education and local farmers and processors, NYS Farm to School can help to:

✔ Address diet-related problems among our youth

✔ Develop an appreciation for the importance of agriculture

✔ Preserve open-space and the natural environment

✔ Promote strong community food security networks

Thank you to NYS Dept.of Ag.& Markets for this information.


Farm-to-School Resources

NYS Farm to School Brochure

Farm to School Benefits Fact Sheet

Farm to School Toolkit

Contact

Cassandra Bull
Farm to School Coordinator
cb775@cornell.edu
585-268-7644 Ext 25

Last updated November 21, 2019