By Anna Defendiefer, Communications Intern
For the past 31 days of National Farm to School Month, millions of students, farmers, educators, and communities across the U.S. have been celebrating the movement that connects kids to healthy, local food and supports local economies. From Florida to Alaska and everywhere in between, people are understanding the power that farm to school can bring to kids, farmers, and communities - that’s what National Farm to School Month is all about!
This year’s campaign encouraged participants to take action and try new things to further embrace the farm to school movement in their local communities. Hundreds of people across the country told us the activities they planned to try this month in our Take Action Pledge:
- Harvested the school garden, cooked a meal, saved the seeds for next season, and amended the soil to get ready for spring - Alaska
- Scheduled a Growing Gardens Class for preschoolers - Colorado
- Taught students about healthy eating and exercise by using pumpkins as weights to do lunges and Russian twists - Connecticut
- Partnered with a local dairy to name a baby calf - Delaware
- Installed and planted a rain garden full of native pollinator plants - Oregon
- Worked with a local dairy farm to teach students how farmers produce milk, yogurt, and cheese - Arizona
- Students constructed a greenhouse for the school farm and grew food for the Mighty Mustang Backpack Meals Program - Mississippi
- Celebrated “Garden Day” at a local elementary school, where each grade planted a different kind of seed - Texas
At the National Farm to School Network, we’ve been leading Farm to School Month celebrations by sharing farm to school inspiration and stories from partner organizations including School Nutrition Association, National Head Start Association, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and Newman’s Own Foundation. We also highlighted innovative approaches to farm to school by talking about breakfast and reducing plate waste in the cafeteria.
On social media, we celebrated by encouraging people to share their ideas and help spread awareness for the farm to school movement using #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool. Over 6,000 social media posts celebrated farm to school this month, showcasing hundreds of activities and events. We were so inspired by the creative ideas and excitement for the farm to school movement we saw!
Regionally, millions of students and teachers took a collective “crunch” into delicious local produce this month - states in the Great Lakes region, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia all ate local apples, while Florida enjoyed some cucumbers for “Cucumber Crunch!” Policymakers created Farm to School Month proclamations in Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Utah. Some states celebrated by creating exciting farm to school events: Georgia “Kickin’ It with Kale,” Iowa Local Food Day, Louisiana Farm to School Conference, the D.C. Greens Summit, Massachusetts Farm to School Awareness Day, New Jersey Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week, Texas Farm Fresh Challenge, and Mississippi Farm to School Week all helped spread awareness in a fun environment!
Farm to school is a grassroots movement powered by people like you, who take action and try new things every day to encourage local food sourcing and food, agriculture, and nutrition education to students across the nation. While Farm to School Month has come to an end, we encourage you to keep the momentum going and continue to celebrate the positive power that farm to school brings to kids, farmers and communities. To stay up-to-date on the latest stories, new resources, policy actions, learning opportunities and more, join our network. Let’s keep taking action all year long!
Thank you to this year’s National Farm to School Month sponsors - CoBank, Newman’s Own Foundation, U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Captain Planet Foundation, Farm Credit, FarmLogix, Organic Valley, and High Mowing Organic Seeds - as well as the Featured Partner and Outreach Partner organizations that helped us spread the word about farm to school far and wide throughout October. And, thanks to YOU for being a farm to school champion in your community!