In 2009 during the 81st Texas Legislative Session, SB 1027 established the Interagency Farm to School Task Force, charged with developing and implementing a plan to facilitate the availability of locally grown food products in all Texas schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The task force included representation from the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), the Texas Education Agency, the Department of State Health Services and stakeholders representing farmers, school nutrition, distributors, health advocacy, parents and higher education.
Following the task force’s work, a full time Farm to School Program Specialist was hired in the Food and Nutrition Division of TDA, which administers 12 federal child and special nutrition programs for the State of Texas. TDA supports providers of nutrition assistance by helping ensure accountability and the efficient use of taxpayer dollars to nourish Texans in need. These nutrition programs exemplify "eating right" for Texans of every age and background, and help them build a bridge to success.
Incorporating locally grown products into school meals benefits Texas students and the businesses of Texas farmers, ranchers and other producers. TDA’s Statewide Farm to School Initiative enhances schools’ ability to work with local and regional producers, creating economic opportunities for Texas farmers and ranchers and increasing the amount of local products served in school meals. TDA’s statewide initiative also helps schools introduce students to local food and agriculture, through garden-based learning, connecting with local farmers and ranchers and classroom lessons focused on nutrition and agricultural education.