California’s year-round growing season and rich agricultural heritage make it the ideal state to explore agriculture education!
Farm to School 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.
Farm to School programs bring locally sourced and produced foods to school cafeterias while incorporating food literacy and nutrition education. Fresh, local food is growing in popularity among consumers and in schools across the state. In California, 55 percent of school districts are using local and regional foods to serve healthy meals to children.1
California is the leading agricultural state in the nation, producing more than 400 commodities at farms in all 58 counties across the state. California produces 50 percent of US-grown fruits, vegetables, and nuts, plus nearly 20 percent of the nation’s supply of milk.2
School gardens, assemblies like Mobile Dairy Classroom, and project-based lessons that explore the food system or careers in agriculture are all examples of activities that support Farm to School. When thinking about local foods, it’s easy to concentrate on fruits and vegetables, but balance discussions to include all food groups. For instance, do students know that milk goes from cow to cafeteria (or store) in about two days? Or that each year 5 billion pounds of rice is produced in California?
The Farm to School Census: Find your school district. US Department of Agriculture website: https://farmtoschoolcensus.fns.usda.gov/. Updated January 11, 2017.
California Department of Food and Agriculture. California Agricultural Statistics Review 2015–2016. Available at: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/California/Publications/Annual_Statistical_Reviews/2016/2015cas-all.pdf