We’re thrilled to announce that our Farm to School Academy is one of 74 projects spanning 39 states receiving support this year through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Program, an effort to better connect school cafeterias and students with local farmers and ranchers. The funds will allow us to expand our current program to additional schools throughout the region.
“Farm to school programs work—for schools, for producers, and for communities,” said Secretary Vilsack. “By serving nutritious and locally grown foods, engaging students in hands-on lessons, and involving parents and community members, these programs provide children with a holistic experience that sets them up for a lifetime of healthy eating. With early results from our Farm to School Census indicating schools across the nation invested nearly $600 million in local products, farm to school also provides a significant and reliable market for local farmers and ranchers.”
The Farm to School Academy will use the funds to bring more local foods to schools and teach cafeteria staff how to prepare fresh vegetables for students’ enjoyment while adhering to USDA’s standards.
Farm to school programs are one of the many tools and resources USDA offers to help schools successfully serve healthier meals. In the past three years since the bipartisan passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, kids have eaten healthier breakfasts, lunches and snacks at school. Over 97 percent of schools report that they are successfully meeting the updated nutrition standards.
In addition to school meals, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers several other nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (Commonly known as WIC), and the Summer Food Service Program. Together, these programs comprise America’s nutrition safety net. For more information, visit www.fns.usda.gov.
Our 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 for bringing fresher, local food to schools.