In a new initiative to bring local food and agriculture education into preschools and primary school systems, National Farm to School Network is an advocacy network working to connect and expand the farm to school movement.
What started in the late 1990s with just a handful of schools has grown to 40,000 schools in all 50 states as of 2012, according to research conducted by the NFSN.
Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools.
The core elements of farm to school includes school gardens, education and procurement. Through school gardens, students learn about agriculture through hands-on farming. They are educated on agriculture, food, health and nutrition and local foods is then served in cafeterias or through taste-test activities, which promotes farmers in local communities.
Not only does farm to school “empower children and their families to make informed food choices,” it also “strengthens the local economy and contributes to vibrant communities,” according to NFSN.
With October designated as National Farm to School Month by Congress in 2010, NFSN is just one option the U.S. school system uses to “improve child nutrition, support local economies and educate children about the origins of food.”