What is Farm to School?
Farm to School programs aim to bring fresh, locally grown food into school cafeterias. But there’s more to it than that: making Farm to School meaningful to students, and using local foods to encourage healthy eating, requires education and outreach to build school and community awareness of local food production. Farm to School programs build connections between school communities and local producers to provide education and access to healthy, local foods through the school cafeteria, school gardens, nutrition education, cooking in the classroom, farm field trips, and connections to local farmers’ markets. Through Farm to School outreach, schools and preschools are given the opportunity to change food purchasing and feeding practices, as well as nutrition education.
Farm to Summer:
Summer meals programs offer fresh, local produce to youth, as well as engagement opportunities to participate in gardening, tastings, and assisting with preparing simple recipes. These programs also work to promote local agriculture and increase access to fresh produce through pop-up farmers’ markets and serving as food pantry drop-offs. Promote and serve locally grown produce, build connections to local agriculture, and engage participants to gardening activities.
Farm to School in Maryland Schools:
- Maryland Homegrown School Lunch Week is a statewide event in which, local schools systems partner with local produces to offer Maryland products, such as locally grown produce, honey, cheese, milk, beef, chicken, crab, and even oysters. To see what is being offered in your school, check you school menu.
- In 2019, Homegrown School Lunch Week is being kicked off at Denton Elementary School on September 26 and statewide the week of September 30-October 4. Please note that some school systems may celebrate during different weeks, depending on the availability of products.
Celebrate Farm to School:
Celebrate Farm to School All Year the FSNE Way!
- Share social media messages with your school to promote Homegrown School Lunch Week and farm to school activities.
- Using this What’s In Season Guide, highlight items on the school menu that can be grown in Maryland and search the Maryland’s Best website to local a Maryland farmer that grows those items.
- Take students on a virtual tour of a farm by visiting this Ag in the Classroom site and choose a farm you would like to tour.
- Plan a field trip to the farmers’ market with your student to learn about local foods. Have students try the Farmers’ Market Scavenger Hunt to learn about the foods found at the market.
- Invite a local farmer to your classroom to speak to your students about life on the farm, what they grow or produce and how those crops are used.
- Plan a Farm to School event each month using lessons and activities that are suited for your students using the Farm to School Event Planning Guide.
- Plant small gardens in the classroom that students can watch grow and care for, such as a Garden in a Glove, Lettuce Cup Terrarium, or Seedling Necklace.
- Want more tips for planning a farm to school program? Check out the Farm to School Planning Tip Sheet.
- Wellness Policies provide guidelines for schools to create environments that promote healthy behaviors. Learn more about FSNE’s role in school wellness.