For the past 31 days, millions of schools, farmers and communities across the country have been celebrating the movement that’s connecting kids to fresh, healthy food and supporting local economies. From Florida to Alaska and everywhere in between, people are recognizing the power of farm to school to benefit people, planet and profit. That’s what National Farm to School Month is all about!
This year’s campaign celebrated the small steps everyone can take to get informed, get involved and take action for farm to school in their own communities and across the country. More than 600 people took the One Small Step Pledge, and shared the small steps they’d be taking in October:
- Our 28 elementary schools will be taste testing fresh, local produce, experiencing healthy cooking demos using farm fresh foods, and learning about their agricultural heritage - Texas
- Continuing to plug away at networking with community partners that can bring together farmers to create a system for getting fresh produce to Early Childhood programs - North Carolina
- Hosting our very first Farmer's Market with community farmers and produce from our very own Edible School Yard - California
- Partnering with a local orchard to make homemade apple sauce in the classrooms and organizing a Big Apple Crunch Rally - New York
- Buying local produce for my kids lunches and classroom snacks this month - Washington
- We will be serving blueberry juice with blueberries grown in South Georgia - Georgia
At the National Farm to School Network, we’ve been leading Farm to School Month celebrations by sharing great stories of farm to school innovations, successes and impacts – like how farm to school activities are reducing school food waste, supporting family farms, and growing the next generation of food leaders.
We also celebrated on Capitol Hill. Throughout the summer – and at events like the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference and Farm Aid 2016 – we collected paper plates with messages of support for farm to school and healthy school meals to share with lawmakers. On Oct. 5, we partnered with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to deliver more than 550 paper plates to legislators who have been pushing for an increase in farm to school funding and support in the Child Nutrition Act. See a recap of the delivery day here.
And, we hosted a #FarmtoSchool101 tweet chat with Slow Food USA and Farm Credit to spread awareness and answer questions about the movement. More than 175 people joined the conversation on social media, sharing stories about the positive impact farm to school has in their communities. See highlights here.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and farm to school champions celebrate Arkansas Farm to School Month.
Regionally, millions of students celebrated Farm to School Month with events like the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch, Midwest Grate Apple Crunch, and Southeast Crunch. In fact, there have been Farm to School Month celebrations in every state this month. Governors in Arkansas, Hawai’i, Minnesota, Nebraska and Rhode Island made proclamations declaring October Farm to School Month in their states. Oregon brought legislators to the lunchroom to see farm to school in action, Georgia got kids to dig their hands in the soil with “Leaf it to Spinach,” and Washington students sampled local food for Taste Washington Day. We could keep going!
Farm to school is a grassroots movement powered by people like you, taking small steps every day to bring more local food sourcing and food and agriculture education to students across the nation. There are 334 days to continue taking small steps to grow and strengthen the movement before Farm to School Month 2017! Help us keep the momentum going by joining our network and stay up-to-date on the latest stories, new resources, policy actions, learning opportunities and more. Let's keep the small steps coming all year long!
Thank you to this year’s National Farm to School Month sponsors and supporters – Aetna Foundation, Captain Planet Foundation, Farm Aid, Organic Valley, Chartwells, High Mowing Organic Seeds and Safer Brand – and the 230+ outreach partner organizations that have helped make Farm to School Month 2016 a success.