Farm to School

The landscape of food on children’s plates here in Nebraska is rapidly transpiring into healthy and delicious bites.
Farm to School is a natural fit for Nebraska's rich history in agriculture. The term "Farm to School" refers to schools serving local, farm-fresh foods. This can range from fruits and vegetables to eggs to honey to meat. Often schools incorporate curriculums built around nutrition, agriculture, and science. Doing this creates learning opportunities based on experience, like farm visits, gardening, recycling, and entrepreneurial programs.
 
For more information about the Farm to School program sponsored by the Center of Rural Affairs, contact Kathie Starkweather, kathies@cfra.org or 402.617.7946.
 
 

Farm to School Notes

 

Greenhouse to Cafeteria

Center for Rural Affairs launched the Greenhouse to Cafeteria program in 2015 after finding that many schools in Nebraska had greenhouses, but only used those greenhouses for starting perennials or growing holiday plants. Some were even empty - a missed opportunity for Nebraska’s kids.

The program assists schools in teaching valuable lessons as the kids to start, tend, and harvest plants. Greenhouses transform into edible organic gardens that provide food for the school cafeteria, educate students about where food comes from, and teach entrepreneurial skills.

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Bringing harvest into the classroom

Iowa farmers are in the midst of harvest season, but many are pausing to share the fruits of their labor with local kids. October is Farm to School Month, and activities and events around the state are educating students about eating healthy foods.

Ellen Walsh Rosemann, who owns Farm Table Procurement and Delivery in Harlan, a food hub that distributes and transports food grown around Iowa to schools, said that when kids know where their food comes from, they are more likely to become better educated as consumers.

The Real Deal Farm to School at a Nebraska farm

Three years ago, family farmers Robert and Kristine Bernt of Clear Creek Organic Farm weren’t sure what to make of farm to school. They were part of a gathering of food producers, rural organizations and food advocates who joined the Center of Rural Affairs at a fire hall in Ord, Neb., to discuss farm to school efforts happening in the region. And they, along with others around the table, were concerned that the perceived complexities of selling local products to school cafeterias would limit farm to school activities in the state.

But thanks to the dedication of numerous farm to school champions like those gathered that day in the fire hall, these concerns have significantly diminished.