Making the Farm-to-School Connection
Making the Farm-to-School Connection

Increasing food literacy by connecting students with agriculture

California leads the nation in agriculture production. In fact, the state produces 21% of the nation’s supply of milk, ranks second in cheese production and, with high yield in grapes, almonds, beef, strawberries, lettuce and walnuts, supplies the world with hundreds of commodities from all five food groups. 

California residents might consider themselves lucky to have access to so many fresh, local foods, and school communities are particularly well-suited to make the connection to local agriculture. Schools have the opportunity to not only bring their students fresh, local food, but to increase their knowledge and hands-on agricultural experiences. 

According to Dairy Council of California Senior Project Manager Shannan Young, the farm-to-school movement is more than simply telling students what to eat or providing a salad bar in the school cafeteria. “We want to improve a student's food literacy by connecting them with their agriculture community at many levels,” she noted. When fully implemented, a farm-to-school program feeds students' minds and bodies by connecting them to their local farms and encouraging them to make healthy eating decisions. 

“Farm-to-school programs like establishing classroom gardens, making a connection to school cafeterias and participating in agricultural programs like our Mobile Dairy Classroom should go hand-in-hand with teaching nutrition in the classroom,” said Young. “By helping students gain and apply knowledge around healthy eating, we have the opportunity to create lasting changes in their lives.”

Interested in learning more?

Here are additional resources for the farm-to-school movement: 

Cafeteria Connections
Classroom Garden Activities