This week the USDA released the final results of the Farm to School Census, a first-of-its-kind effort to measure the amount and type of farm to school activity taking place across the country. Initial results were released last year, but the data now includes new or updated information from 1,500 school districts, resulting in an overall school district response rate of 75 percent. The data reflects farm to school activity during the 2011 - 2012 school year.
The new census data is also packaged in an updated website that offers a customized search tool, raw data downloads and infographics, all aimed at helping users find and share detailed information and local statistics. The survey results demonstrate that farm to school is taking root across America, impacting the health of kids and their communities:
- 23.5 million kids are participating in farm to school activities
- 40, 328 schools are using farm to school practices
- $385+ million dollars were spent on local food for schools
Since our network first took shape in 2007, we have encouraged the expansion of farm to school practices across the country by serving as a resource and information hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education into school systems and preschools. We advocated for and informed the content of the census, and we applaud the USDA Farm to School Program for their great execution of this important piece of work. We are thrilled that farm to school is quickly becoming the rule rather than the exception and that we have the data to prove it!