Farm to School is on the Map!
By Deborah Kane, National Director, USDA Farm to School Program
Criss-crossing the country, from Maine to California, and from Florida to Washington, Farm to School programs exist from coast to coast in small, rural towns and large, urban metropolitan areas alike. They are on the map, literally and figuratively, and featured prominently in USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass.
The USDA Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass is a two-part, online tool that illustrates USDA’s investments in local and regional food systems. Part one includes a narrative focusing on several different themes in local food, including farm to institution. Here, you can read stories, watch videos, and see pictures from some great projects doing Farm to School work across the country.
The map in part two of the Compass physically plots USDA investments in local and regional food, including Farm to School projects. By filtering for “farm to institution” I learned about the following programs:
In Oklahoma City, the State Department of Agriculture spearheads a Harvest of the Month program to bring more local produce into Oklahoma’s schools year-round.
In Tallahassee Florida, the New North Florida Cooperative Association delivers locally grown greens straight to school cafeterias.
In Minneapolis, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy increases healthy food access for low-income children by overcoming Farm to School barriers. A quick search by zip code can help you see if the USDA is supporting a Farm to School project near you or find inspiring projects across the country.
In addition to USDA’s investments in local and regional food systems work, starting this month, the Compass also features local and regional food investments made by nine additional federal agencies. Now you can find out about amazing projects like the Cherokee Nation Health Service’s Group Farm to School program partially supported by the Center for Disease Control in rural Oklahoma or the Collbran Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Colorado which, with help from the Department of Labor, is building a garden for school cafeteria use.
Each one of these projects inspires us and will surely inspire you. Later this month, we will also be announcing additional funding specifically for Farm to School programs. Find out more by signing up for our enewsletter .
(And in case you missed it, check out this USDA and White House hosted Google+ Hangout featuring Farm to School leader Chris Kirby from Oklahoma.)