Farm to School
Various Farm to School programs throughout the country have been making the news as of late, especially as nutrition in schools is becoming a more prevalent issue. A Farm to School program connects local farmers with local schools and provides them with produce. Not only does it help the local economy and support local farmers, it provides the schools with fresh produce, which in turn allows the schools to provide the students with more nutritious meals. A win-win situation for everyone.
According to the National Farm to School brochure:
- More than 30 million children eat at school five days a week, 180 days a year
- Typically, a food item that is eaten in the United States travels from 1,500 to 2,400 miles to reach its final destination
- One-third of American school children are obese
Nationwide, 41 states plus the District of Columbia participate in the program. Florida’s program just got started last year and we have a website devoted to Farm to School where anyone interested can learn about it and sign up if interested. Florida has 23 counties with schools participating and 19 counties with participating farmers.
If a farmer is interested in joining the program, they can simply go to this link and sign up. Our website provides a list of tips for farmers who are interested in supplying to schools. Some tips include:
- Determine if you have the products they need. Fresh fruits and vegetables requiring a minimal amount of kitchen processing are ideal for starters.
- Determine how your products will be delivered to the school. This may be indirectly via a local distributor, or directly with your trucks.
- Discuss the kind of condition the school expects your product to be delivered in, i.e. cleaned, washed, shucked, trimmed, etc.
The National Farm to School website offers a lot of resources for anyone who is interested in signing up. It is a great program with so many benefits to everyone involved. I hope one day it is in all states and counties within each state. Every child should be able to benefit from this initiative.