Farm to School programs come in many shapes and sizes unique to the communities that build them. After exploring the resources and existing programs on the left, contact your state Farm to School lead for additional information and assistance specific to Washington:
The Washington State Legislature recently passed the Local Farms - Healthy Kids legislation to create a staffed Farm-to-School Program at the state level and establishing and funding a Washington Grown Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program modeled on the federal program, using food grown and/or processed in Washington State. (The bill also includes measures and funding for Farmers Market EBT machines, Farmers Market
access for senior citizens and WIC recipients, and a Farm-to-Food Banks project.) The initiative was brought forward by Washington Environmental Council, representing a coalition of 21 environmental organizations, and garnered support from a broad spectrum of interests, including the farming community, children's advocates, those working to
end poverty and hunger and educators. Development of the state Farm to School program will begin immediately. Check back for updates!
Since 2003, Washington State University King County Extension has hosted the Farm to School Connections Team--an open group of individuals, parents, agencies, and organizations -- to develop a directed approach to expanding school menus to include locally-grown food, implementing education about food and farming, and increasing
opportunities to learn directly from farmers, chefs, and others who grow and prepare food. This group meets monthly during the school year as a way to learn and network to make and improve connections between schools and local, fresh food and farming. The focus is mainly on the Puget Sound region, but the group has state-wide connections and shares information with others in Washington. WSU King County Extension also runs school nutrition education programs such as Harvest of the Season and Food$ense CHANGE (Cultivating Health and Nutrition through Garden Education).
In 2002, the Washington State Legislature directed the Department of General Administration and the Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to identify and recommend strategies to increase the amount of Washington grown products purchased by state agencies, institutions, and schools. The WSDA has promoted the purchase of foods by Washington farmers by providing technical assistance and outreach to communities, schools, and farms that are interested in creating farm to school
programs. They published Farm to Cafeteria Connections: Marketing
Opportunities for Small Farms in Washington State in 2003, with revisions in 2004. The Olympia School District initiated a pioneering farm to school program in 2002, and since then school districts and individual schools around the state have implemented a range of farm to school programs, including school gardens, chef in the classroom projects, farm visits and highlighting locally grown foods in lunch menus.
Education and Outreach Coordinator
Washington State Department of Agriculture
Washington State has a strong network of public and private agencies working together to improve school food and establish links between farms and schools, and to introduce policies to support farm-to-school activities. Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington State University King County Extension, Washington Environmental Council, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and
Public Health Seattle/King County are some of the agencies collaborating to seek solutions.