What We Do: Farm to School

Connecting children to healthy local foods

The Food Trust Solution

Farm to school connects schools and early education settings with local food producers to serve local, healthy foods in schools. This improves student nutrition, provides agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities and supports local and regional farmers.  

Farm to school programs promote one or more of the following goals:

  • Providing and promoting local foods in school cafeterias

  • Educating students on agriculture, food, health and nutrition

  • Engaging students in hands-on learning in outdoor spaces like school gardens

  • Building a sense of community through field trips and serving local foods at businesses and organizations

The Food Trust leads the Pennsylvania Farm to School Network along with the Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture, Education and Health; Project PA; and the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council. This network is a collaborative partnership that advances and promotes farm to school by leveraging collective resources across the Commonwealth. The Food Trust also serves as the Pennsylvania Core Partner to the National Farm to School Network, an information, networking and advocacy hub that works on farm to school at the national level.

The Food Trust is also working with the Pennsylvania Head Start Association to collectively develop statewide strategies to encourage the advancement of sustained farm to early childhood programs and practices. These strategies support quality access to and the consumption of Pennsylvania-grown foods in early childhood settings, and activities can include local food purchasing for meals and snacks, on-site gardening and agriculture and nutrition education

Locally, The Food Trust supports the School District of Philadelphia’s Divison of Food Services in their farm to school efforts and incorporates farm to school into SNAP-Ed nutrition education at five school districts in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The team also works with ECE sites in Philadelphia and New Jersey through a farm to ECE train the trainer program, which includes mini grants and technical assistance to help sites build farm to ECE strategies into their operations. The Food Trust is also beginning “farm to summer” programming by serving summer meals and education to kids at select farmers markets.

To learn more about farm to school, visit www.pareadySETgrow.org and sign up for our monthly newsletter, The Monthly Harvest.

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