Farm-to-You Ideas + Exhibits
Discover school and community Farm-to-You programs that increase food literacy and bring nutrition to life.
Where does food actually come from? Learning how food grows is an important step in developing healthy eating habits. From school gardens and classroom nutrition education to agricultural assemblies like Mobile Dairy Classroom, Farm to You programs help increase food literacy, bring nutrition to life and elevate the health of children and communities while supporting local farmers, local agriculture and local economies.
Explore resources to extend learning in schools:
- Make the cafeteria connection. School cafeterias across the nation are a major center of food production. Touring the school cafeteria is a great opportunity for students to learn where food is sourced, what is made in-house and what it takes to make nutritionally-balanced meals for the many students that are served.
- Read about it. Getting lost in a story is a great way for students to learn to value healthy eating.
- Teach nutrition in the classroom. Integrate farm to school activities while teaching your nutrition lessons. The student workbooks at HealthyEating.org make the connection between healthy eating and local agriculture.
- Bring the farm to school. Invite a local farmer to share his or her story with the class. Resources like California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom and Mobile Dairy Classroom provide a fun and interactive way to bring the farm experience to the classroom.
- Take a farm field trip. Many children have never stepped foot on a working farm. Connecting with local foods—whether milk, nuts, vegetables or fruits—is a very important step in helping students understand how food ends up on their plates. Contact a local farm bureau to learn more about farms that offer tours and activities for students.
Explore resources to extend the learning in communities:
- Fair Exhibit. County fairs can display the Dairy Council of California fair exhibit, showcasing California grown foods and highlighting dairy. The display helps educate students on the contribution that dairy agriculture makes in California and how dairy products impact personal health. Six panels cover the following topics: Dairy Farming, Cow Anatomy, Sustainability, Milk Processing, Dairy Foods and Nutrition, and Healthy Communities. For more information about displaying the exhibit email [email protected] or call (916)263-3560.
- Visit the Children’s Storybook Garden & Museum. Located in downtown Hanford, the Children’s Storybook Garden & Museum, a not-for-profit museum, provides interactive learning experiences that combine agriculture, nutrition and literacy education. The museum features an educational dairy barn complete with an animatronic cow.
- Shop the Farmers Market. A large part of nutrition education is learning to choose the right foods at school, at home and on the go. Local farmers markets help people shop for fresh, local produce, in addition to learning about seasonal foods and meeting some of the people who grow or raise food locally. Find a local California Certified Farmers Market and see what foods are in season!
- Nicolaus Dairy Education Programs. Located in Elk Grove, the Nicolaus Dairy had been in operation by members of the Nicolaus family since 1890. In 2014, the Regional San Board of Directors was informed that the dairy met the requirements for eligibility as both a state and federal historic site. Regional San then engaged the Elk Grove Unified School District to develop a vision to renovate and repurpose the site for educational use and for the community. This led to the development of several educational programs for local youth and the community.
- New Ag Literacy Exhibit: ImagineU Children's Museum. Originally opened in 2015 and located in downtown Visalia, the Imagine U Museum houses child-centered exhibits that focus on agriculture, science, and art through the power of play. Their motto is, “Play is the vehicle for exploring and learning, developing new skills, and connecting with others.” The interactive Dairy exhibit features facts about dairy cattle breeds, interactive exhibit elements which will feature a small milking parlor and nutrition education elements including a ‘build a meal’ board that aligns to the current dietary guidelines for Americans and let’s kids place foods on their plates while learning about the recommended daily servings of each food group in addition to an “Explore Dairy Foods” activity.