By Anupama Joshi, Executive Director
Today marks the launch of Seed Change, the National Farm to School Network’s major new initiative to change the dynamics of farm to school at the state level in support of growing healthier kids and better economic opportunities for small farmers.
Every state has its own unique set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to improving community health, tackling childhood obesity and supporting farmers and local food systems, including funding and people power. With a $1.5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, we are able to kick off Seed Change in three states that are poised for significant growth in farm to school programming.
Seed Change by the numbers:
- 1.8 million students in Kentucky, Louisiana and Pennsylvania engaged
- 100 mini grants to emerging farm to school sites for local food purchasing, school garden activities, nutrition education, retrofitted kitchens, food service staff training and more
- Six farm to school demonstration districts and training hubs established
- Goal of 10 percent growth in farm to school sites, student participation and number of school gardens in each state in 18 months
Leveraging the power of existing partnerships and networks in each state, Seed Change will provide the direct investment and proactive outreach needed to significantly increase the number of schools, children and farmers participating in farm to school activities and the dollars spent on locally sourced food.
The project will be coordinated locally by NFSN partners the Kentucky State Department of Agriculture, Market Umbrella in Louisiana and The Food Trust in Pennsylvania, who will lead statewide outreach efforts, trainings and technical assistance to create a vibrant and active farm to school network in each state for long term program sustainability.