National Farm to School Month

October is National Farm to School month and that means that it is time to celebrate the food service professionals, farmers, and distributors who work tirelessly year round to bring healthier food options into our schools. Let's take a moment to introduce or reinforce what we know about the movement that is reshaping the way our country views nutrition, holistic learning approaches, and local food systems.

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Who is involved?

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Farm to Table initiatives rely on the perspectives and hard work of many stakeholders. In order for these initiatives to be successful, state government officials, community organizations, agricultural commodity groups, universities, administrators, teachers, parents, students, and community members all have a large role to play. Two Michigan based organizations who are leading the way on these initiatives are the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities.

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What is Farm to School?

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Farm to School is rooted in the desire to support community-based food systems, strengthen family farms, and improve student health. Farm to School initiatives can take on many different forms but the core goals of these programs are to procure local food to be promoted and served in cafeterias, to provide students with educational activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition, and to have students engage in hands-on learning through gardening.

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When did this movement begin and where is it going?

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The National Farm to School Network sprouted in 1996 and stakeholders across the country have been working on this initiative ever since. The Farm to School movement has already helped to shift the way many school districts purchase food yet there is still a lot of work to be done. Here in Michigan, our Farm to School movement seeks to ensure that these initiatives help to fulfill the goal presented by the Michigan Good Food Charter that Michigan institutions purchase 20{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} of their food from local growers, producers and processors by 2020.

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Why is Farm to School important?

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Farm to school programs enrich the connection that communities have to fresh, healthy food and local food producers. Farm to school initiatives empower children and their families to make informed food choices that allow them to promote their own health, support their local economy, and promote sustainable, vibrant communities.

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How can you make an impact?

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It takes the collaboration and intentionality of entire communities for Farm to School initiatives to be successful. If you are interested in learning how you can support our local Farm to School initiatives, click here!

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