By Anna Mullen, Digital Media Associate
National Farm to School Month is here! For the next four weeks, millions of students, educators, farmers, families and food-enthusiasts around the country will be celebrating food education, school gardens and lunch trays filled with healthy, local ingredients. This annual celebration was brought to life by Congress in 2010 in order to raise awareness of the importance of farm to school as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies and educate communities about the origins of their food. Everyone can join the festivities!
Farm to school is a grassroots movement powered by people like you, who have taken small steps in their communities to bring more local food sourcing and food and agriculture education to our nation’s children. And those small steps have created big impact. The farm to school movement has grown from just a handful of schools in the late 1990s to reaching more than 23.6 million students nationwide today, with schools investing more than $789 million in their communities by purchasing local products from farmers, ranchers, fishermen and other food producers and growing 7,101 school gardens.
That’s why this October, we’re celebrating the small steps that everyone can take to get informed, get involved and take action to support farm to school in their communities and across the country. Because together, we can keep this movement growing! Here’s how you can get involved and celebrate National Farm to School Month:
- Take the pledge: Pledge to take one small step for farm to school this October, and you’ll be entered into our sweepstakes to win support for farm to school activities at the school or early care and education site of your choice. Take the pledge today!
- Read inspiring stories: Visit our blog all month long to read inspiring stories of farm to school success and innovation. Guest blog posts include FoodCorps, School Nutrition Association, USDA Office of Community Food Systems, Chef Ann Foundation, National Young Farmers Coalition and many more!
- Spread the word: Share your farm to school successes with the world! Join our online conversation and tell us what small steps you’re taking this October. Use the hashtags #farmtoschool and #F2SMonth in your social media posts.
- Explore resources: Check out our free resources for planning and promoting celebrations in your community, including customizable posters and bookmarks, stickers, activity suggestions and communications tools.
- Donate to support our work: Invest in the future of farm to school. Donate to the National Farm to School Network and help us bring farm to school to communities across the country every month! Take one small step and make a charitable donation today. Take one small step and make a charitable donation today.
We want to know: what small steps will you take this month? Share with us by taking the pledge! In addition to entering our sweepstakes, everyone who takes the pledge will receive weekly email suggestions of small steps to support farm to school in their community. Check out some of the small steps people across the country will be taking:
Partnering with our local dairy. Our students will be naming a calf and we will be showcasing where our milk comes from. - Pennsylvania
Our preschoolers will harvest the plants they’ve tended to all summer, and will learn how to prepare healthy meals with the food they have grown. - New Mexico
Open our farm for tours with students. - Oklahoma
Hosting a legislator in the lunch room visit. - Oregon
Our journalism students will go on local radio and write for the local paper, providing farm fresh recipes and nutritional tidbits. - Tennessee
We will have lessons on how science is related to growing food. Soil, minerals, water cycle and weather will be taught in relation to growing food. - Florida
Educating myself on this topic, so I can educate others in my community. - Ohio
Whatever steps you take, know that you are part of a movement that’s creating positive change by growing healthy eaters, supporting local agriculture and building vibrant communities. That’s worth celebrating!
Thank you to this year’s National Farm to School Month sponsors, Captain Planet Foundation, Farm Aid, Organic Valley and High Mowing Organic Seeds, as well as the 200+ Outreach Partner organizations who 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!