Did you know October is National Farm to School Month? It’s a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between students and local food sources.
Whether you’re an educator, farmer, parent, student, food enthusiast or advocate, everyone can celebrate and act this month.
So what is it?
Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by enhancing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education sites.
Farm to school implementation differs by location but always includes one or more of the following:
- Procurement: Local foods are purchased, promoted and served in the cafeteria or as a snack or taste-test;
- Education: Students participate in education activities related to agriculture, food, health, or nutrition; and
- School gardens: Students engage in hands-on learning through gardening.
Milk is more local than you may think. Milk is the No. 1 product that schools’ source from local farmers. Whether a farm is big or small, these family-owned dairies care about providing fresh, nutritious milk to local schools. Milk goes directly from the farm, to local companies where it is packaged and sent to local grocery stores and schools generally within about 48 hours or less.
Many local farmers host field trips or a farmer may be able to connect with students in the classroom. To learn more about these opportunities, contact us at Dairy West ([email protected]).
Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities.
Interested in learning more? Check out these local and national resources:
- My Idaho Plate
- Idaho Farm to School Manual
- Idaho Preferred
- National Farm to School Network
- Fuel Up To Play 60: Farm to School
Together we continue to build a healthy, high-achieving generation of youth!
Written by Jaclyn St. John, a registered dietitian with Dairy West, mom and lover of all things family, food, fitness and fun! If you have questions or comments, please contact her at [email protected]. Dairy West works on behalf of dairy farm families in Idaho and Utah to promote the dairy industry and dairy products locally, nationally and globally.