Farm to School

What is Farm to School?
Farm to School is the name used to describe activities that promote and serve locally produced foods in cafeterias, classrooms and the community. 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 educational activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition; and,
  • School gardens: students engage in hands-on learning through gardening.
There are many ways to get involved in farm to school initiatives – even small ways. Schools may:
  • Serve local food at breakfast, lunch, or during snack time.
  • Incorporate school gardens or food preparation within classroom lessons.
  • Feature local foods in healthy school fundraisers.
  • Engage students in trips to a farm or bring farmers to school to serve breakfast or lunch.
  • Establish composting and waste management programs.
Farm to school is a win-win-win–students win, farmers win and the communities win! Farm to School empowers students and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities.
Farm to School in Minnesota
Minnesota has seen rapid growth of Farm to School. The number of Minnesota school districts engaged in Farm to School practices rose from 18 districts in 2006 to 268 districts in 2014. According to the most recent USDA Farm to School Census data, schools that responded reported spending 13 percent of their budgets on local products, with a total of $12 million invested in the Minnesota economy through purchasing local foods.
  •  - 7/7/21
    Provides many resources to help ensure the safety of locally procured foods. These include Frequently Asked Questions, considerations for using produce from school gardens, how to safely handle fresh produce in classrooms, and how to ensure the farms you source products from use safe practices, among many others.
  • Food Safety Questions to Ask Your Farmer - 7/1/21
    School Nutrition Programs are allowed to procure and serve locally grown foods. When buying produce directly from a farm for your food service operation, school nutrition professionals should ask farmers about their food safety practices. This resource is a guide to assist you in having an informed discussion with a farmer about their on-farm food safety practices.
  • Farm to Summer Week Fact Sheet - 6/23/21
    July 26-30, 2021 is Farm to Summer week in Minnesota, a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the state between kids and teens and local food. Learn how your sponsor and sites can participate.
  •  - 3/25/21
  • Farm to School in the Cafeteria, Classroom and in the Community - 1/14/21
  • Filling the Whole Tray with Culturally Relevant and Local Foods - 1/14/21
  • Farm to School from the Cafeteria and into the Classroom - 1/14/21
  • Taking the First Bite and Getting Started with Farm to School - 1/14/21
  • Farm to School Resources, Food Safety and Funding - 1/14/21
  • Finding Local Foods Fact Sheet - 10/14/20
    Discover the different ways in which local foods can be sourced for your child nutrition programs.
  • Celebrate Farm to School Month Anytime, Anywhere - 10/1/20
    Governor Tim Walz has proclaimed October as Minnesota Farm to School Month. During the month, Minnesotans are encouraged to celebrate connections between students and local food, share our state’s farm to school stories and express gratitude for school nutrition professionals and farmers providing essential services to feed our kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • People Resource for Farm to School  - 1/10/20
    Relationship building is an essential component to farm to school. Use this list of individuals in Minnesota who are willing to support you in your farm to school efforts.
  • Local Procurement Tracking Tool - 1/9/20
    Use this tracking sheet to keep track of all your local purchases. This excel spreadsheet has areas to record both food purchases and food served.
  •  - 7/17/19
  • Farm to School: Serving Local Minnesota Foods - 3/29/18
    Farm to school connects schools with fresh, local food grown or raised by family farmers. Find where to source local food in Minnesota and learn the benefits of participating in farm to school.