HOW TO START A FARM TO SCHOOL PROGRAM:
1. Research: Read the publication Going Local to acquaint yourself with model farm to school programs from across the country. As Farm to School programs come in many shapes and sizes, it's important to begin to identify what you want and what would work best in your school. Visit www.farmtoschool.org to learn if there is a program in your area.
2. Organize: Coordinate a group of cross-sector stakeholders in the community for a meeting to discuss farm to school (food service directors, parents, teachers, farmers, students, school administration, local nonprofits, etc.) Inspire potential supporters with an activity such as a farm tour or a farm-fresh taste test.
3. Assess: Facilitate conversations with various stakeholders to determine the feasibility of the program in your area—discuss where to buy local foods, assess how to serve them at school, identify staff or volunteers to support the program, and determine what the budget for your program can be.
4. Plan: Create a short description of your ideal program and then list specific first steps. Tip: start with easy wins! Try to limit this to five steps to help you organize and communicate your goals to others.
5. Start: Take small steps such as working with one or two whole products that are easy to process and popular among kids. Local apples, oranges, or strawberries are a good choice when they are in season.
What are you waiting for? Plant the seeds of farm to school!