Get Started

Farm to school is a grassroots movement, and anyone can get involved.

Farm to school offers multiple strategies to improve the health of children and communities. This list provides some simple first steps to develop a lasting farm to school program in your community.

1) Assess where you are and where you’d like to be. Are your goals centred on:

  • Procurement of local foods to be served in school?
  • Establishing a school garden?
  • Integration of farm to school within the curriculum?
  • All of the above?

2) Form a team and collaborate. School food service staff, teachers, administrators, local farmers, students, parents and community organizations each have an important role in establishing a sustainable farm to school program.

3) Establish one or two attainable goals to get started. Some ideas include:

  • Identify menu items that you would like to transition to local products.
  • Find a farmer or distributor to connect you to local items.
  • Plan a local meal event.
  • Determine training needs to assist food service staff with incorporating farm fresh items in meals.
  • Bring a school garden planning team together.
  • Identify curricular opportunities to connect to a school garden.
  • Bring a chef into the classroom.
  • Plan a farm field trip or host a tasting event featuring local produce.

4) Learn from others. If you are running into an obstacle there is someone out there who has run into it before. Some places to connect and learn from others include:

  • Our network. Contact your State Lead or Regional Lead Agency.
  • Our resource database. Use a variety of search criteria to narrow your results according to your setting (farm, preschool, k-12, etc.) and the topic you are looking for (curriculum, food safety, school gardens, etc.).
  • USDA Farm to School. Get support, resources and funding for your farm to school activities.  
  • Your state’s School Nutrition Association. Learn how others in your state are approaching farm to school in their school/district.
  • Connect with the Child Nutrition Program at your state agency (typically your Department of Education or Department of Agriculture).

5) Promote farm to school in your school and community.

  • Signage in the cafeteria
  • Bulletin boards throughout the school
  • School newsletters (print and electronic)
  • School website
  • School events / PTA /etc.
  • Local media

To learn more, download our Getting Started with Farm to School fact sheet, our Getting Started with Farm to Early Care and Education fact sheet or our Starting a School Garden fact sheet.

Additional Resources