Watch now - new Farm to School Census video

Volume 2, Issue 29, October 7, 2016

USDA celebrates farm to school month

October is National Farm to School Month!

All month we'll be sharing simple ways that anyone can get informed and take action to support farm to school in their communities across the nation. Following the National Farm to School Network's lead, we challenge you to take One Small Step,

Farm to School Census Video

Schools are Making a BIG Impact

Watch this new video to learn how farm to school is making a difference all across the country. Take one small step and share this video across your networks!

Farm to School Census Data Explorer Now Available

Census Data Explorer

We're excited to launch a new data explorer tool enabling users to more easily analyze data from the 2015 Farm to School Census. With just a few clicks, the Farm to School Census data explorer allows users to determine which schools and school districts currently have a farm to school program and which would like to start one in the future.

Users can run customized searches to learn which local foods they are purchasing, the sources by which they are buying local foods, and which local foods they would like to purchase in the future. Users can then download results into an excel spreadsheet that gives additional information regarding the impact each farm to school program is having. 

Happy exploring!

Celebrate Farm to School Month with One Small Step - Watch a webinar!

We're partnering with the National Farm to School Network, USDA's Rural Development agency, and the School Nutrition Association to share information throughout the month.

Toddler with parsnip

Bringing Local to our Littlest Eaters

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 3:30 5:00 PM ET

Serving local foods in meals, snacks, and taste tests is a core element of farm to early care and education and contributes to numerous benefits for kids, farmers, and communities. However, understanding where and how to purchase local foods as well as how to incorporate them into early care and education meal programs can be a challenge. Speakers from the National Farm to School Network, USDA, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, and early care and education providers will share tips for getting started, strategies for success, and innovative models that are advancing and scaling local purchasing practices in early care and education settings across the country.

Farm to School and the Role of Cooperatives – Producer and Buyer Perspectives

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 2:00 – 3:15 PM ET          

When our kids have the opportunity to eat delicious local fresh offerings at their school cafeterias, they may not realize there could be a co-op behind making those offerings possible. October is not only National Farm to School Month, but also National Co-op Month  so join us for a webinar that looks at the impact of cooperatives in local food sourcing at schools, with speakers providing perspectives from both the supply side and demand side of the equation.

October is Farm to School Month

SNA Webinar Wednesdays: Celebrating National Farm to School Month with USDA

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 2:00 3:15 PM ET

In celebration of National Farm to School Month, join SNA to learn about resources from USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and how farm to school strategies can boost participation, reduce food waste, and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. This webinar will showcase Doug Davis from Burlington School Food Project and Alex Emmott from Oakland Unified School District. We’ll also highlight small ways you can jump in.

Funding Opportunity: Local Foods, Local Places

Local Foods, Local Places helps communities create more livable neighborhoods by promoting local foods. The program is supported by several federal agencies including USDA.

Local Foods, Local Places aims to support projects that do all of the following:

  • Create livable, walkable, economically vibrant main streets and mixed-use neighborhoods.
  • Boost economic opportunities for local farmers and main street businesses.
  • Improve access to healthy, local food, especially among disadvantaged populations.

Communities are invited to apply for a new round of planning assistance from Local Foods, Local Places. The application deadline is 11:59 PM ET on November 6, 2016.

Milton, Vermont fruit and vegetable bar

National Farm to School Month Highlights Benefits to America’s Students and Communities

Deborah Kane, Director, Office of Community Food Systems, Food and Nutrition Service

It’s National Farm to School Month and USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems is here to help…and not just in October!  All year long, we offer research, grants, training and technical assistance to help connect child nutrition programs with local foods.  Here’s why.

Farm to school helps form healthy habits. By incorporating local foods, farm to school programs help school meal programs fulfill the updated nutrition standards with appealing and diverse offerings.  And the results are impressive.  The recent 2015 USDA Farm to School Census shows farm to school programs now exist in every state in the nation and in every type of school district – large and small, rural and urban alike. With that in mind, we plan to build on this momentum!