About Farm to School Academy

Our Farm to School Academy offers innovative solutions for increasing children’s consumption of fresh, local food. We guide school nutrition professionals and administrators through a customized process designed to bring more local and school garden-grown produce into their school for meals, snacks and parties.

With the Farm to School Academy, schools in the Kansas City metro area can:

  • Introduce students to fresh produce they may not have tried.
  • Help students understand where their food comes from.
  • Broaden the variety of fresh foods served at school.
  • Teach the benefits of a healthy local food system.
  • Increase sales for farmers in the regions.
  • Explore fresh produce through training and tastings.
  • Connect with other stakeholders at quarterly meetings.

The Farm to School Academy engages school staff and faculty, district stakeholders, parents and students in activities that increase awareness of our local food system and generate excitement about the possibilities of bringing fresher, local food to schools.

Grow a Garden Classroom Curriculum >>
This free, comprehensive toolkit tells you everything you need to know about creating a school garden. It includes tips and ideas for success at every step, from getting buy in, funding and volunteer support, to how to design, plant and maintain a garden and tie it in with classroom lessons, which are also provided in the guide.  Get the Guide

Tasting Local Events >>

Students sample fresh local foods prepared in exciting new ways. “Tasting Local” events feature seasonal produce that students enjoy, and say they would like to eat in the cafeteria. Request a Tasting

Ultimate Eat Local Recipe Challenge >>

Kids get creative and show us how they would make a healthy lunch that meets nutritional guidelines similar to those required of cafeteria meals. Contest runs September 15 through November 30 and is open to third- through eighth-graders in Wyandotte and Johnson counties in Kansas and Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri. Get Details

Culinary Training Modules
Chef-taught modules cover knife skills, seasoning without salt, harvest timelines, freezing local produce and food safety. The training is available to schools enrolled in the Farm to School Academy.

Leadership Roundtable
This four-part series offers support and recognition for school food and nutrition services staff engaged a farm to school programs. You’ll gain a better understanding of food systems and culinary techniques, explore a local farm, learn about supplemental programs—all to help you build a more sustainable farm to school program. We’ll also count on you to share your experience in school kitchens so we can determine how to best support you. An open and supportive atmosphere makes it easy to connect and begin creative collaborations with food and nutrition services staff from around the metro. 

Food Service Coalition
District administrators and food service directors as well as suppliers and community partners are invited to these quarterly meetings to learn how to get the most out of their participation in the Farm to School Academy and to share ideas and advice based on their experience with the program. Directors will learn best practices for procuring locally grown foods and planning menus according to seasonal availability. 

Garden to Cafeteria Safe Sourcing Protocol
This tool helps farm to school advocates and school staff work together to make sure garden-grown produce is safely handled and processed in a way that it can be easily used by cooks in the cafeteria. It includes:

  • Growing, harvesting, handling and processing requirements for garden grown produce intended for use in school kitchens
  • Harvest receipts for farm to school advocates and cafeteria site leader
  • Conditional approval agreement for garden-grown produce intended for use as a food source for districts

The documents are available to schools enrolled in the Farm to School Academy.

Interested? Let us know! Contact Rachael McGinnis Millsap at 816-523-5353 or send her an email at rmmillsap@kchealthykids.org.

Farm to School Academy is proud to be a Core Partner of the National Farm to School Network for the state of Kansas.