-Farm Fresh-Rhode Island Farm to School
The Rhode Island Farm to School Project had an unofficial start at Kids First from a USDA Team Nutrition Grant in 1999 to support initial meetings and discussions amongst farmers and school food service directors. Within two years Cranston, RI emerged as a leader in testing the RI Farm to School concept, making initial purchases of apples from Hill Orchards. Since that time, the Farm to School program has spread to all 36 public school districts in the state.
Our vision is to have all Rhode Island school food buyers look to Rhode Island farmers FIRST when seeking fresh foods for their students and staff so that all Rhode Island school children can eat fresh & healthy foods at school, camp and day care. We do this by bringing together Rhode Island school food purchasers and Rhode Island farmers for the development of successful and sustainable purchasing relationships. We also offer chef technical assistance to school food service workers, to help integrate whole, fresh produce into school meals. Working with students in the cafeteria and classroom to provide tastings, nutrition education and an overview of Rhode Island agriculture helps them understand the economic, environmental and community benefits of supporting local farmers.
Kids First mission, to “Guide Communities to Improve the Nutritional and Physical Well Being of Children and Their Families” has been successfully achieved and the organization closed on June 30, 2012. The RI Farm to School project has transitioned to Farm Fresh RI, Rhode Island’s premier agricultural advocacy organization.
The transition of RI Farm to School to Farm Fresh RI ensures the future of the program by housing it in a thriving environment with similar objectives. Our common goals of nurturing a healthier Rhode Island meet in our promotion of local agriculture and efforts to increase access to fresh and healthy foods.