By Anna Mullen, Communications Manager
The very best month of the farm to school-year is finally here! Let us be the first to wish you a very happy National Farm to School Month!
National Farm to School Network advocated for the creation of National Farm to School Month by Congress in 2010 (House Resolution 1655) and since then, the yearly October festivities have brought together thousands of students, teachers, parents, farmers, food advocates, school lunch professionals, and community members from a wide range of sectors to raise awareness of the important role of farm to school in improving child nutrition, supporting local economies, and building vibrant communities. This National Farm to School Month, join the celebration of food education, school gardens, and lunch trays filled with healthy, local ingredients.
With 31 days to celebrate, here are 31 ways to dig in:
1. Become a member of the National Farm to School Network – it’s free!
2. Explore our free resources for planning and promoting farm to school this month.
3. See what celebrations are happening in your community and join in the fun.
4. Sign up your organization to be a National Farm to School Month Outreach Partner
5. Donate to support the National Farm to School Network and help us bring farm to school to communities across the country every month.
6. Share how your celebrating by using the hashtags #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool on social media.
7. Follow the National Farm to School Network on social media - we're at @FarmtoSchool!
8. Stay up to date on all things farm to school and farm to ECE by signing up for our e-newsletter.
9. Learn about the benefits of farm to school.
10. Endorse the Farm to School Act of 2019 and the Kids Eat Local Act to continue growing farm to school efforts through federal policy.
11. Find out if your state has a farm to school / farm to ECE network. If yes, connect with them!
12. Eat in the cafeteria with students.
13. Conduct a taste test of a new food.
14. Visit a farm, orchard or pumpkin patch.
15. Invite a farmer to visit your classroom.
16. Take students on a tour of their school kitchen.
17. Turn your thumbs green – whether in a raised bed, community garden plot, hydroponic garden or other plant growing space.
18. Ask students and families to share their family food traditions and favorite recipes to create a class cookbook.
19. Read a book together about food, farming or cooking.
20. Visit a farmers market and say “Thank You!” to the growers who've produced your food.
21. Cook and enjoy a family meal together, incorporating local foods.
22. Use arts and crafts such as coloring, painting, cutting and pasting or other creative projects to reinforce excitement for fruits and vegetables.
23. Get moving with physical activity games. Try a relay race to collect fruits and vegetables and sort them by plant family or by color.
24. Consider new recipes that are culturally appropriate and relevant to your community.
25. Be brave a try a new food.
26. Celebrate school nutrition professionals by telling them "Thank You!" every day.
27. Take time to be mindful - a garden is a great place to do this. Use all five of your senses to enjoy the natural world around you.
28. Organize a site visit for your policymakers to see farm to school in action.
29. Make a bulletin board celebrating farmers and local food.
30. Volunteer to serve on a school garden committee, district wellness committee, or another group that champions farm to school.
31. Find even MORE ways to celebrate in our National Farm to School Month Celebration Toolkit!
Farm to school is a grassroots movement powered by people like you taking small actions every day to grow healthier kids, support local agriculture and cultivate vibrant communities. These next 31 days are the perfect time to celebrate how far we've come, and dig in to keep growing the movement!
Special thanks to our 2019 National Farm to School Month Sponsors and Supporters, including CoBank and the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, and our Outreach Partner organizations that are helping us spread the word about farm to school throughout October. And, thanks to you for being a farm to school champion in your community.
Happy National Farm to School Month!
By Anna Mullen, Communications Manager