Farm to School is Hope for the Future

Farm to School has the ability to impact not only the future of Agriculture, but the future of family farms and organic foods. As food service directors are learning to meet the new  nutritional guidelines, the children are learning where their food comes from, learning to grow and  eat a diversity of vegetables - and meeting their farmers. 

I have been visiting Edible Schoolyards, kitchen classrooms, a garden lab and school gardens over the past month and it has been a very gratifying experience. The future of our food rests in the hands (and tastes) of our youth - continuing to grow and demand healthy and sustainable food systems. These photos are from the Edible Schoolyard program in the FirstLine Charter Schools in New Orleans, where the outdoor classrooms and garden tasks are utilized in both a therapeutic and educational way. The smell of the cafeteria food and the laughter of the children combined with gardens in and around the schoolyard was very inspiring!

Outdoor classrooms serve educational and behavioral purposes.

Outdoor classrooms serve educational and behavioral purposes.

Farm to School will have important market implications as they support the sourcing of local food for schools or preschools and providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, such as school gardens, farm field trips and cooking lessons. There are many ways that farm to school programs impact the health of children and communities while supporting local and regional farmers.  Aggregation and food safety are the biggest challenges for farmers to thrive in this market, but cooperatives, aggregators and Food Hubs are important links in the food system;  (More on the Southern Food Hub Learning Network soon!) Farm to School is providing agricultural opportunities for building the future farmers! 

Pam Kingfisher