Farm to School Month Ideas and Resources

Thanks to Shannon Fowler with the Nebraska Department of Education Nutrition Services for this #F2SMonth post.

When you hear the words “farm to school,” what comes to your mind? Do you think of a farmer taking a bushel of freshly picked vegetables to a school kitchen? Crates of individual milk bags headed to students for their morning breakfast, and packaged on a dairy farm just 48 hours ago? A school garden where the students help plant the seeds, pick the weeds, and harvest the food?

If you think of any of these things – you’re right.

Farm to school is all of those things – bringing in fresh food from large and small farms, from experienced farmers to kindergarten students learning how plants grow. Our role at Nebraska Department of Education–Nutrition Services is to:

  • Help connect farmers to schools.
  • Ensure school food service staff properly procures local foods and serves it safely to students.
  • Provide schools with tools and resources on what farm to school really means.

Our goal at the department is to ensure students are being provided healthy and nutritious foods so they can learn their best and have proper growth.

During October’s Farm to School Month, here are some things you can do to showcase local foods in your area:

  • Host a student tasting event featuring apples from a local orchard.
  • Ask a local dairy farmer to come and speak to students about dairy cows and milk processing.
  • Talk with teachers, administrators, and parents about starting a school garden - what possibilities are there with curriculum, student volunteers, harvesting the food for student meals.

You can also check out these resources for more information:
School Nutrition Association
USDA – Food and Nutrition Services: Farm to School
National Farm to School Network

We'd love to hear more about what your Nebraska school is doing to incorporate the farm into your school. Please share your story! Contact Donna Handley at the Nebraska Department of Education Nutrition Services, donna.handley@nebraska.gov or 402.471.3502.