“ Farm to School programs connect school food with local agriculture to create a strategy that increases the profitability of farming, improves the quality of school meals, and re- create relationships in the community among consumers and the people who grow their food. ”
Health: Kids Win The choice of healthier options in the cafeteria through farm to school meals results in consumption of more fruits and vegetables with an average increase of one serving per day, including at home.
Agriculture: Farmers Win Farm to School programs can open up the expansive school food market, estimated at more than $12 billion a year, to socially disadvantaged farmers.
Economy: Communities Win For every dollar spent on local foods in schools, one to three dollars circulate in the local economy.
Fast fact : In the U.S., it takes the typical food item 1,500 to 2,400 miles to travel from farm to plate. A head of California lettuce shipped to Washington, DC, requires 36 times more fuel energy just to transport than the caloric food energy it provides.
" All of a sudden, I’m watching the weather forecast to see how crops might fare ,” Clare Columbus Boston Food Service Director
“ For the six or eight weeks I get tomatoes, I get them for the same price, which helps stabilize my budget. For us, it’s a win-win situation. We get to support the farmers in our local area. We’re someone they can depend on. In turn our kids are saying, “ We really like this .” Mary Ann Lopez, South Windsor’s School Nutrition Specialist and Food Service Director
Inputs Food Consumption Food Distribution Food Processing Ingredient Production Natural Resources Waste and Recycling Food Transformation Schools Contracts with food manufacturers commissary kitchens prepared foods Contracts with national distributors and fast food chains Minimal preparation mostly heated and served surplus commodities from USDA constant and consistent supply
Food Consumption Food Distribution Food Processing Local / Regional Farmers / Ranchers Natural Resources Waste and Recycling Food Transformation School Local slaughterhouses Local food preservation Local commissary kitchen Regional aggregation sites and direct sales Seasonally-based cooking with all local menus direct partnerships with farmers for purchasing onsite growing contracted growing and farm visits by teachrs, students, and school food service staff school gardens classroom cooking , nutrition education, taste tetsts farm-based field studies Local foods in cafeterias Lesser food waste, reusables, compostable food trays, increased awareness Less pesticide / chemical use on land, water, air, less energy used Care for natural resources Healthier, local , less processed foods, Consumer knows where food is coming from
- salad bars -hot entrees / other meal items -snack in classroom -taste tests -fundraisers
Educational Activities: - chef/farmer in class, cooking demos -greenhouses, waste management, recycling, and -composting -farm tours -harvest of the month -CSA in the classroom -School gardens
Implementing Farm to School
Student: Why don’t we get fresh lettuce and local watermelon at school lunch ? Parent Food Service Director Principal National Food Distributor School Board Food Processor Teacher Nutritionist Contracted Food Service Provider
Chronology 1996-1997 California (Santa Monica-Malibu USD and The Edible Schoolyard, Berkeley) and Florida (New North Florida Marketing Cooperative). 2000 National Farm to School Program 2001 USDA AMS Small Farms/School Meals Initiative 2002 1st national Farm to Cafeteria conference 2004 National Farm to School Program authorized; 400 programs in 22 states Launch of www.farmtoschool.org.
Chronology 2005 2nd Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Ohio with over 350 attendees. 2005-2006 Regional meetings held across the country to gather feedback on need for a national network and setting priorities; national survey estimates 1000+ programs. 2007 3rd Farm to Cafeteria Conference in March in Maryland with over 400 attendees. National Farm to School Network established with 8 Regional Lead Agencies and 4 national staff 2009 4 th Farm to Cafeteria Conference in March in Oregon with over 650 attendees. Estimated over 2000 programs in 42 states
Policy alliance was spearheaded by environmental group with farm preservation, public health, anti-poverty advocates
Comprehensive legislation :
2 Full Time positions to coordinate local food procurement inside of Departments of Ag and Education
Requires all state food contracts to include a plan to maximize the availability of Washington grown food purchased through the contract.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack: “My job is to listen to the president, who is the ultimate vision maker…The vision is, he wants more nutritious food in schools. In a perfect world, everything that was sold, everything that was purchased and consumed, would be local so the economy would receive the benefit of that. One thing we can do is work on strategies to make that happen.” Washington Post 2/11/09
1966 : Serving 3 billion meals to 19 million children. The Child Nutrition Act passed creating a two-year pilot School Breakfast Program.
1970 : Free and reduced priced meals eligibility standards established
1972 The National Soft Drink Association introduces an amendment eliminating the restrictions on competitive foods. Vending machines entered schools.
1973 Jean Mayer, Nixon’s nutrition adviser, warns the President of a threatening national epidemic of obesity.
1978 Last greatest movement for CNR with increased eligibility, reduced meal prices, and increased breakfast reimbursements.
1981 Overall cut of 28% affected multiple child nutrition programs. Approximately 2 million children are dropped from the NSLP. Ketchup and pickle relish are declared vegetables.
1994 Schools required lunches to conform to the Dietary Guidelines by 1996 USDA established Team Nutrition and launched the Healthy School Meals Initiative to support improvements in school lunch and increased nutrition education for children.
2004 National Farm to Cafeteria Program authorized but not funded and School Wellness Policies created.
2008 Farm Bill allows geographic preference
2009 MONUMENTAL CHANGE TO SCHOOL LUNCH (what we hope to see here!)
“ I've learned that if it's fresh and grown locally, it's probably going to taste better. That's what I learned. And that's how I've been able to get my children to try different things, and in particular fruits and vegetables. So to make sure that we give all our kids a good start to their day and to their future, we need to improve the quality and nutrition of the food served in schools. We're approaching the first big opportunity to move this to the top of the agenda with the upcoming reauthorization of the child nutrition programs. In doing so, we can go a long way towards creating a healthier generation for our kids.” Michelle Obama Change is in the air (and soil!)
“ Dear Shcool Board, Well I herd that we only get crunch lunch on 2 days of the week. How do you expect us to stay helthey? How do you expect us to live with the meatlof? Well, I hope you do sumthing .” Student at Davis Joint Unified School District (CA) to the School Board supporting the Davis Farm to School Salad Bar Program