The mission of the Illinois Farm to School Network is to empower children and their families to make informed, healthy food choices while strengthening the local farming economy. We do this by exposing students to the benefits and joys of eating fresh, local food, teaching them where their food comes from, and explaining the role food plays in our environment. Our partnering farmers are our greatest asset, and they benefit from having a dedicated school market. Our work extends across the state, from rural to urban communities, and everywhere in between.
Current objectives include:
- Growing our coalition of partners across the state, including schools, districts, organizations, farms and more. Learn more about partnering with us by emailing our state lead.
- Being a forum where partners can share resources and best practices around school gardens, nutrition education and local food procurement. Learn more by signing up for our newsletter on our website.
- Help subcommittees and working groups identify and start substantive projects.
Some accomplishments by Illinois Farm to School include:
- The largest fresh farm-to-school shipment of vegetables to a school district, according to the USDA, when Chicago Public Schools bought and served 36,000 pounds of carrots grown at Growing Power, a Milwaukee-based urban farm
- 100 edible school gardens throughout the state
- Nutrition Education taught throughout the state by educators with the University of Illinois Extension and other innovative non-profits
- 164 districts representing approximately 1,361 individual schools with an estimated 758,081 children in attendance are actively working on various Farm to School activities.
The Illinois Farm to School Network is led by Seven Generations Ahead, a non-profit whose mission is to promote the development of healthy and sustainable communities. SGA was one of three founding organizations of the Illinois Farm to School Network. SGA continues to be a leader in the Chicago metro area and Midwest through educational programming, conference events, collaborations with Pioneering Healthy Communities teams in Illinois and Ohio, and farm to school initiatives across the Midwest. In December 2011, SGA's Fresh from the Farm was ranked seventh on the Mother Nature Network's list of the top ten farm to school programs in the nation. Many Illinois Farm to School resources are available at Seven Generations Ahead’s Fresh From the Farm website.