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National Farm to School Network


Motherhood Inspires My Farm to School Work

NFSN Staff Tuesday, December 03, 2019
By Helen Dombalis, Executive Director

Since I became Executive Director of the National Farm to School Network earlier this year, I’ve been eager to share with you why I am inspired to do this important work every single day. In 2017, my family expanded when I gave birth to a daughter and became a first-time mom. Since that time, the impact of farm to school has taken on a new level of significance personally and professionally.

Now that she is a toddler, our daughter is testing boundaries and asserting independence. There are moments when it can be difficult to get her to try new foods. In these times, I remind myself of the importance of the National Farm to School Network’s work in early care and education settings. My daughter is at the critical age when taste buds are forming, and she is developing life-long habits that will build the foundation of her lifestyle and well-being. 

This is what farm to school is about: empowering kids to be knowledgeable about and invested in their local food systems. At home, my husband and I take our daughter to Garden Sweet, a farm in our community. We go weekly during the growing season to pick berries and flowers, and participate in their community supported agriculture (CSA) program. I watch our daughter’s excitement about our weekly farm visits; she knows that the berries on her dinner plate come from Garden Sweet and its farmers with whom she regularly interacts. 

National Farm to School Network is committed to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to know where our food comes from: to be nourished by food grown justly and sustainably in our communities, to visit farms and know farmers, and to dig into gardens that teach how food grows. There are many inequities built into our food system that hinder the opportunity for every child to engage in these experiences. Dismantling these injustices is what makes our work so important. 

Through farm to school, we’re able to connect our children to where their food comes from, enhance the quality of the educational experience, and promote practices that bolster more equitable food systems. At the National Farm to School Network, we lead national efforts to strengthen and expand this work by connecting people to resources, people to policies, and people to people. 

We cannot do this important work without your support. Your gift today enables us to improve children’s health, strengthen family farms, and cultivate vibrant communities across the country.


P.S. One last farm to school lesson we have with our daughter: at meals, our family always starts with gratitude - for the chicken farmer, the rice farmer, the broccoli farmer - the people who made our meal possible. It is with tremendous gratitude that our family thanks you for helping make farm to school possible!


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