Farm-to-School

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Top Reasons Why Shrewsbury should establish a District-wide Farm-to-School Program

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.

A Farm to School Program is important because it empowers a new generation of children to make healthy eating choices, learn to grow food, and connect to local farms by using an approach which integrates the Classroom, Cafeteria, and the Community.    School Gardens provide the real-life context for learning across all disciplines—science, math, art, language arts, foreign languages, and more.   By engaging students in hands-on opportunities that establish meaningful connections to the curriculum, the gardens will help children connect the dots by showing them where their food comes from and how their food choices impact their bodies, the environment, and their communities at large.

Farm to school gives schools and school districts local control and flexibility to offer seasonally-available, regionally-produced foods on their menu, often sourced directly from local farmers.

Farm to school benefits everyone from students, to teachers, parents, and producers. Connecting communities to their local farmers, ranchers, and fishers builds stronger ties to the community and a culture of appreciation for those who care for our land.  

Farm to school introduces students to agricultural career paths. As America’s farmers retire, our nation’s food supply depends on more young people entering the field of agriculture. Farm to school inspires young people to consider careers in agriculture and food systems.

Food is political, and the most tangible indicator of our social inequities. Sure, as living beings we all must eat to survive—and there’s unity in that—but what we eat and how much and where it comes from and what we must do to get it varies widely.

For a lot more reasons, check out these lists from great resources:

THE EDIBLE SCHOOLYARD PROJECT

The mission of the Edible Schoolyard Project is to build and share a national edible education curriculum for pre-kindergarten through high school. We envision gardens and kitchens as interactive classrooms for all academic subjects, and a free, nutritious, organic lunch for every student. Integrating this curriculum into schools can transform the health and values of every child in America.

CHEF ANN FOUNDATION – REAL SCHOOL FOOD CAMPAIGN

The #RealSchoolFood campaign brings attention to one key issue: Our nation’s schools must stop serving highly processed food and start cooking from scratch. Why? Because our children deserve REAL, healthy school food every day that will nourish their minds, bodies, and futures.

By giving chefs, celebrities, parents and schools the opportunity to raise their voices in support of real school food, we raise awareness, and work together to ensure that school food reform keeps moving forward. And for every person who participates through social media, $1 will be donated towards healthy school food programs across the country.

It’s time to transition our nation’s schools away from processed, heat-and-serve food to healthy scratched cooked meals. If we all spread the word, the louder the call-to-action becomes, and the more likely that change can and WILL happen.

Amherst Pelham Regional Schools Food Services – Project Updates

We strive to serve the healthiest meals possible, sourcing as much local food as we can while working within a budget that makes school food affordable for all. The result is a comprehensive and creative menu that focuses on health, wellness, and sustainability. Students leave our cafeterias each day having eaten a nutritious meal, thus they are much better set up to learn and be successful in the classroom. ​

Hopkinton – Whitson’s Food Services

We are working to continually add more organic and non-GMO food items to our offerings. This is all part of our Simply Rooted™ food philosophy and sustainability platform. We promise to bring our customers clean ingredients, wholesome and all-natural meals, all while continuing to nurture the environment.


QUOTES

“Massachusetts Farm-to-School Month is a great opportunity to thank and recognize all school food service staff, as well as the farms that grow high-quality food for our students to enjoy throughout the school year. Our administration is committed to supporting our local agricultural industry, as well as increasing access to fresh, healthy food for all Massachusetts residents.”
Charlie Baker, 
Governor

“Farm-to-school efforts support improved nutrition and academic achievement for students, and provide potential markets for local farmers.  These programs enrich children’s experience and connection to their communities through locally-produced, fresh food.” 
–  Karyn Polito,
Lieutenant Governor

“Bringing locally sourced food and agriculture education to schools is a great way to empower children and their families to make informed food choices.  We commend the Massachusetts Farm-to-School Program for strengthening the collaborative effort among the schools and farms across the Commonwealth.”
– Matthew Beaton,
Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary

“Increasing the amount of locally grown food in school meals is a win for both students and Massachusetts farmers.  School food service directors can improve the nutritional value and taste of school meals while also supporting the local economy.”
– John Lebeaux
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner

“The food industry is the nexus of almost all of the major forces in our politics today. It’s super closely linked with climate change and ethics. It’s the nexus of minimum wage fights, of immigration law, of criminal justice reform, of health care debates, of education. You’d be hard-pressed to find a political issue that doesn’t have food implications.  For me what’s important is to value the hands that go into your food – All of them.”
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
U.S. Representative, New York’s 14th congressional district


PAST EFFORTS

NOVEMBER 2018 – Shrewsbury Teachers and parents attend the 2018 Massachusetts Farm to School Conference

SPRING 2017 – Shrewsbury Schools District-wide Garden Build

NOVEMBER 2016 – Shrewsbury Teachers (9 total) and parents (2 total) attend the 2016 Massachusetts Farm to School Conference


Massachusetts Farm to School Month Proclamation

Massachusetts Farm to School Conference

USDA Community Food Systems Grant Opportunities


LOCAL FARM-TO-SCHOOL VIDEOS


FARM-TO-SCHOOL VIDEOS

YOUTUBE PLAYLIST

VIMEO PLAYLIST

ftsvimeo


LOCAL FARM-TO-SCHOOL NEWS

03/20/19 – Boston City Council Passes Groundbreaking Food Justice Ordinance

09/28/18 – [Algonquin Regional High School] Garden gives opportunity to grow

07/05/18 – [Shrewsbury] fire department using new approach to reduce risk of cancer

06/02/17 – Shrewsbury schools garden project to benefit students and community

SHREWSBURY – This year, the Home Depot in Shrewsbury approved a grant for almost $30,000 to build gardens at each public school in town. While a couple of the schools may have an existing area with garden beds, the plan is to extend these areas to encompass additional areas of the curriculum and academic standards from the Massachusetts Frameworks. Planning, measuring, researching, composting, weather, animal life cycles, nutrition and more are all part of this next phase and the Shrewsbury community could not be more excited.

“A Farm to School Program is important because it empowers a new generation of children to make healthy eating choices, learn to grow food, and connect at local farms by using an approach which integrates the classroom, cafeteria and the community.  School gardens provide the real-life context for learning across all disciplines – math, science, art, language, arts, foreign languages and more. By engaging students in hands-on opportunities that establish meaningful connections to the curriculum, the gardens will help children connect the dots by showing them where their food comes from and how their food choices impact their bodies, the environment and their communities at large.”
– Bryan Moss,
founder of Sustainable Shrewsbury
and a parent of children at the Walter J. Paton Elementary and Oak Middle schools.

05/31/13 – Algonquin students use green thumbs to promote green living


FARM TO SCHOOL IN THE NEWS

10/17/18 – 6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SCHOOL FOOD

10/10/18 – What Domino’s Pizza in the Cafeteria Says About the State of School Food Reform

08/09/18 – Increasing sustainable, vegetarian food on the [Harvard] HBS campus

10/24/17 – At UMass Amherst, a buffet fit for a campus king

08/31/17 – HOW BOULDER BECAME GROUND ZERO FOR SCHOOL LUNCH REFORM

05/22/17 – School District Switches to Local and Organic Meals, Cuts Carbon Footprint—and Saves Money

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