Farm to School
Farm to School is a movement which connects schools to local farmers and increases learning about food production in the classroom. The three main areas of Farm to School are: 1) serving local foods in the school cafeteria, 2) implementing school and youth gardens, and 3) encouraging students to learn about the food system through in class activities and on-farm field trips. Farm to School programs help children and their families make informed decisions about their food and nutrition, assist local farmers and ranchers by increasing their sales, and promote local economies by utilizing local sources.
Dakota Rural Action has been working on Farm to School issues across South Dakota since 2010. In 2016 DRA helped start the Farm to School Taskforce which serves as a connection to resources, state and federal agencies, regional support groups, training, networking opportunities, and more geared toward statewide Farm to School efforts and creating a culture of health in South Dakota’s School System. The Task Force aims to focus on healthy communities, healthy environments, healthy relationships, and a healthy local economy, while supporting ongoing sustainability of Farm to School programs and classroom nutrition education.
Want to know more about Farm to School in South Dakota? See our Farm to School Factsheet.
Want more information on school gardens? See our How to Start a School Garden Factsheet
The USDA has begun gathering data on Farm to School efforts across the nation with the Farm to School Census. Learn more about the Census and see the data on their website.
Dakota Rural Action serves as the South Dakota State Lead for Farm to School with the National Farm to School Network (NFSN). NFSN provides an abundance of informational material and learning tools on their website.