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Farm to school is taking place in all 50 states, D.C. and U.S. Territories! Select a location from the list below to learn more or contact a Core Partner.
The National Farm to School Network is the voice for the farm to school movement and the leading resource for information about national, state and local policies that impact farm to school.
We represent millions of Americans who believe that all students deserve equal access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities.
Federal, state and local policies affect a community's ability to implement farm to school practices. It is critical to stay informed and share your farm to school stories with decision makers. For information about farm to school policy, contact our policy staff. Join us in advocating for farm to school policies that support your community.
As Congress takes up the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR), we have an important opportunity — the first in a decade — to leverage federal farm to school and other child nutrition policies to shift power towards a racially just food system. Together with our network of partners and supporters across the country, we call on all Members of Congress to show their commitment to the well-being of our nation’s kids, family farmers, and food-producing communities by strengthening farm to school and advancing racial equity opportunities in the next CNR.
National Farm to School Network has been exploring a movement toward values-aligned universal meals focused on equity for the most impacted stakeholders across the food system. Universal meals embedded with the core values of farm to school have the potential to radically transform our food system for the better. Six key values, put into action, get us closer to a just, equitable food system that promotes the health of all school children and benefits producers, workers, educators, and their communities.
The National Farm to School Network tracks federal food and agriculture legislation and regulations that impact the farm to school community. About every five years, the United States Congress renews two significant pieces of legislation: the Farm Bill and the Child Nutrition Act (or CNR, for Child Nutrition Reauthorization), which usually contain important policies related to the implementation of farm to school. However, these two major legislative packages are not the only bills that we track. For example, in 2010 the Food Safety Modernization Act was passed, marking the first major overhaul of our nation’s food safety practices since 1938. More recently, the Local Farms Act looks to incubate local food systems. Here are brief summaries of recent important pieces of legislation:
Several important pieces of previous legislation that laid the groundwork for today’s farm to school success have included:
Between January 2002 and December 2018, 46 states, D.C. , and one U.S. territory introduced a combined total of 453 bills and resolutions supporting farm to school activities. Of those, 41 states, DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands successfully passed farm to school legislation, including 146 bills enacted and 63 resolutions adopted. During this period, only nine states and four U.S. territories did not pass farm to school legislation. To date, 25 states have passed comprehensive farm to school legislation, which means the legislation includes funded grant programs, funded coordinator positions, or funded local procurement incentives
The State Farm to School Policy Handbook: 2002-2020, co-authored by National Farm to School Network and the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School, summarizes and analyzes every proposed farm to school bill and resolution introduced between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2020. It enables readers to search bills by both jurisdiction and topic, and includes analysis of trends, case studies, advocacy resources and more.
There are a variety of ways to support farm to school through policy at the local level. These include:
Food Policy Councils (FPCs) – which range in scope from the local to the state level – are increasing in number in the United States, and many of these councils directly work on farm to school activities like local procurement.
According to the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s Food Policy Network, between 2012 and 2013, there was a nine percent increase in the number of FPCs. Of the 196 U.S.-based councils listed in the Food Policy Network Directory of Food Policy Councils in North America, 33 of them specifically list schools as a top priority.
Policies shape and impact every aspect of our daily lives much more than we can imagine.
From healthcare to transportation to defense, elected officials at all levels of government make policy decisions that impact us. Food and agriculture policies are no exception; they dictate what foods are grown and raised in the US and by whom, food quantities and prices, and thus who has access to what food. Through advocacy and education, you can shape farm to school policy. You are a constituent with a vote and an important story to tell. Have you identified a needed policy change? Did you receive a USDA Farm to School Grant or are you part of a Food Policy Council? Does your state have farm to school legislation that supports your work? Tell us your farm to school story.