Local Food to School
Farm to School Snack Program
Schoolyard Garden or Farm
Farm to School Salad Bar
Farm to School Fundraisers
Farm to Caterer - to School
Farm to School Hot Lunch Program
(Includes Sea to School, Forest to School)
Local Food to School is a term that may be used interchangeably with Farm to School to reflect a broader range of food systems unique to each community. Within this definition, “local food” can include seafood, game and other “wild” foods, that connect schools with fishers, elders and other knowledge keepers who can harvest and prepare these foods safely and in a culturally meaningful manner.
Sometimes even the simplest programs can have a big impact. Apples, pears, snap peas, and cherry tomatoes and other seasonal local produce can often be distributed with little processing. Engaging students to try new things during snacks or tasting events can then often lead into a more comprehensive program like Farm to School Salad Bar or Farm to School Hot Lunch program.
If closing the distance between farm and fork is a primary objective, building a farm (or garden) right on the school grounds may be the optimal Farm to School program. It reduces the distance food travels from farm to plate, ensures children have the freshest, tastiest foods possible, and acts as a living classroom inspiring future generations of growers.
Probably the most popular food service model – fresh local foods are delivered to the school and prepared onsite and served in a portable salad bar unit. Salad bars provide a full meal, usually 1 or 2 days a month, and students have an opportunity to choose what goes on their plate.
Farm to School (F2S) fundraisers provide schools and early childhood education programs with an opportunity to raise funds through the sale of fresh, healthy, and local vegetables and/or fruit. An alternative to traditional school fundraisers, these initiatives provide students and broader school communities an opportunity to connect with local farmers and improve their food literacy, while supporting local food system economies. Learn more.
If your school does not have the space for a kitchen, consider the Farm to Caterer to School model. In this model foods are delivered to a central kitchen where they are diced and sliced and delivered to one or more schools.
Schools that have the infrastructure and mandate to provide student meals on a regular basis (often daily) can safely prepare hot meals, integrating as much local and sustainably produced food as possible into menus. This model is often seen in schools with cafeterias or student culinary programs, providing an additional opportunity for integrating food literacy.