Farm to School

The California Office of Farm to Fork is committed to promoting Farm to School efforts throughout California.

What is Farm to School?
Farm to School can take on many different forms. Generally, Farm to School encompasses many types of activities, including purchasing local foods for school meal programs, education about nutrition, food, and farming, and school gardens.

In California, you’ll see many types of Farm to School programs including:
  • Local foods featured in the Cafeteria – this can be through a taste-testing, Harvest of the Month Program, or incorporated as part of the regular menu offering.
  • Farm field trips
  • Garden based education
  • Classroom-based nutrition education

Farm to School in California
According to the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm to School Census, 353 school districts (2,626 schools) in California were participating in some sort of Farm to School program in the 2011-12 school year. Many different organizations support Farm to School programs in California, including USDA, CDFA, CDE, CDPH, the California Farm to School Network, community organizations, farmers, and tireless teachers, school administrators, and school food service staff.

Why Farm to School?
Farm to School efforts benefit our farmers, our students, and our communities.

  • Farmers can see an increase in income by selling directly to schools and support the healthy development of local students.
  • By spending more money close to home, Farm to School programs can help benefit the local economy.
  • Students not only get to eat more local foods, but they get to learn more about where their food comes from, how it is grown, and the importance of a healthy diet.

The Role of the Office of Farm to Fork
The Office of Farm to Fork supports Farm to School programs in many ways, including:

  • Participating in the California Farm to School Network as a Steering Committee Member
  • Working with the California Department of Education to help schools procure California grown foods
  • Providing information for interested parties, including school districts and farmers
  • Developing Resources for Farm to School such as:
    • Developing an interactive California Marketplace, that will help connect schools and farmers
    • Food Safety Information for schools purchasing directly from growers and using crops from their school gardens