Farm to School

FARM TO SCHOOL TRANSFORMS COMMUNITIES.

The Benefits

Farm to school (F2S) is a program, policy, or initiative that intentionally connects students, school communities, and local farms with the goals of improving student nutrition and academic outcomes, strengthening local food systems, and protecting the environment. Comprehensive F2S programming includes strategies that are integrated across the cafeteria, classroom, and community, such as: serving fresh and local meals in cafeterias; offering food, farm, and nutrition education in the classroom; and building school relationships with farms and community organizations. Through F2S, students develop positive relationships with food and an understanding of how their food choices impact their bodies, the environment, and their communities—lessons and habits that will last a lifetime.

By building connections among classrooms, cafeterias, and communities, we increase student knowledge, improve attitudes toward healthy and local food, and become an important catalyst for rebuilding a more sustainable food system. It takes the support of an entire community to effect change, and with your help we can grow Farm to School across the region and our state.

Health

  • Supports the development of healthy eating habits from an early age.
  • Improves the quality of school meals so more kids will eat them, contributing to food security for the whole family.
  • Helps to reverse the growing obesity rate: nationally, 1 in 6 kids are obese or overweight.
  • Increases how much healthy foods kids eat: it has been shown that students in schools with Farm to School programming eat twice as many fruits and vegetables as the national average.

Education

  • Helps to increase consumption of healthy school meals means all kids are ready to learn and have an equal start.
  • Provides opportunities for hands-on, community-based learning that engages all learners.
  • We know that when children are well fed they have fewer discipline incidents and are able to engage in learning.

Economy

  • Brings money to local farmers, fishermen, and food producers.
  • Invests federal school meal dollars in our local economy.
  • Increases student meal participation, supporting financially healthy school meal programs.
  • Creates workforce development and job creation opportunities.

Environment

  • Keeps local land in farming.
  • Reduces food transportation meaning less greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reduces food waste on the farm and at school.

Growing Resilience

  • Unlocking the potential of Farm to School to strengthen the local economy
  • Support Tennessee Farms
  • Improve student health in the face of new challenges

NWTN Farm to School Publications:

ACTION PLANS

Obion County Central High School FFA students are ready to take action: (Left to right: front) Norah Kendall, Katelyn Ramsey, Aiden Cochran, Tony Blue, Genesis Wilson, (back) Stuart Watson, Daniel Northern, Jaxon Willcutt, Titan Talbot

Cheatham County Farm to School Action Plan 2023
2 page print-out: #GrowCheatham Farm to School Vision & Goals

Obion County Farm to School Action Plan 2022
2 page print-out: Obion County Farm to School Vision and Goals => or print page 8 of the Action Plan

Weakley County Farm to School Action Plan 2021
3 page print-out: Weakley County Farm to School Vision and Goals

Gibson County Farm to School Action Plan 2021
1 page print-out: Gibson County Farm to School Vision and Goals

Gibson County Local Foods Action Plan 2019 – developed from “Using Food to Build Community” Forum and Farm to Table Dinner hosted by the Milan ACHIEVE Team.


Lake County School District

During the 2024-2025 school year, the Lake County Farm to School project will create a unified, countywide farm to school vision and plan for implementation. The Lake County Farm to School Planning team includes:
~Stakeholders from each school
~School nutrition staff
~Coordinated School Health
~Career and Technical Education (CTE)
~Education Directors,
~Administrators
~Local Extension Agents
~Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network
~Chef Ambassador
~Local Farmers & Agricultural Businesses

The Lake County Farm to School Team aims to improve access and use of local foods in the school, development of hospitality and tourism culinary career pathways, enhancement of farm to school educational opportunities, and an overall contribution to the health and wellness of their student body and surrounding communities that serves as a model for others in their region.

South Carroll Special School District – Clarksburg School

The Rocket Farm to School implementation project is facilitated through a Rocket Farm to School Team with technical assistance provided by the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network (LFN) Farm to School Consultants from 2023 to 2025. The focus of our collaborative project is to cultivate a coherent, viable, and sustainable Farm to School culture throughout the district that will positively impact all students, their families, and their communities.

Clarksburg Teacher School Garden 101 Training

Clarksburg CTE Farm to School Presentation


Cheatham County Farm to School

In 2022, the LFN began a partnership with the Cheatham County School District to design and implement a Cheatham County Farm to School Action Plan involving all 13 schools in the county. #Grow Cheatham. #Farm to School. #Get It Local.

#Grow Cheatham: Farm to School Project Overview Presentation

Local Foods Taste Test Training with Chef Hal


Obion County Farm to School

In 2021, the LFN began a partnership with the Obion County School District to design and implement an Obion County Farm to School Action Plan involving all 7 schools in the county. A Farm to School Advisory Team formed and met regularly to review & discuss program progress.

Obion County Farm to School Planning Project Overview

Chastity Homra, left, and Caroline Ideus, right, stand in front of Yoder’s Meat Processors with an entire head of processed beef from Giffin Farms that was sourced into the Obion County School District in November 2022.

By working with area farmers, parents, students, school administration, Healthy School Teams at each school, the Obion County Farm to School Team in partnership with the NWTN Local Food Network:
~ Assessed current assets and needs
~ Promoted increased collaboration between multiple stakeholders
~ Connected interested farmers to school cafeteria managers helping identify and develop supply chain & processing mechanisms
~ Incorporated Farm-to-School education activities into curriculum planning
~ Created a marketing plan to educate the public on the benefits of a thriving Farm to School Program in Obion County
~ Published the Obion County Farm to School Action plan in July of 2022

Download Obion County Farm to School Overview Presentation

Press Release: Obion County Schools Awarded Farm to School Grant; Community Input Needed

December 28, 2021 USDA Newsletter “The DIRT” featuring Obion County Schools Giffin Farms Taste Test


Gibson County Farm to School

In 2020, the Trenton Special School District partnered with the LFN to support a Gibson County-wide Farm to School Action Planning Process during the 2020-2021 school year involving 5 school districts with a total of 20 schools. Afterwards, several school districts were awarded additional farm to school grants to support them to achieve their goals.

Gibson County Farm to School Planning Project Overview

The centrally located Trenton Special School District is leading the coordination of activities in collaboration with the LFN Project Consultants and five county-wide Farm to School (F2S) Planning Teams. Each School District F2S Planning Team has a team leader with team members consisting of Coordinated School Health, School Nutrition and Career and Technical Education Directors, FFA advisors, school board members, farmers, parents, teachers and other interested stakeholders to support three steps:

Step 1: Build Support 

Build support by formally convening a team of Farm to School advocates for each school district.

Step 2: Assess Policies and Practices

Identify and assess school district stakeholders by completing online assessments to identify strengths, needs, and areas for improvement.

Step 3: Develop A Gibson County Farm to School Action Plan

Develop an Action Plan based on what is important and achievable in Gibson County Schools.

Gibson County Farm to School Project Overview Powerpoint Presentation

Press Release: Gibson County Publishes Farm to School Action Plan


Weakley County Farm to School

In 2019, the LFN began taking the lead role in partnership with the Weakley County School District to design and implement the Weakley County Farm to School Action Plan involving all 11 schools in the county. A Farm to School Advisory Team continues to meet to review & discuss program progress.

Weakley County Planning Project Overview

View the Weakley County Farm to School Kick-off Event Pictures.

Press Release: Weakley County Publishes Farm to School Action Plan


PRESENTATIONS

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food – Local Procurement for Farm to School, Tennessee School Nutrition Association Conference, Chattanooga, TN, June 2024.

Farm to School to You! – “Bringing the Farm to School” Event, Bradford, TN 7/2023

Leveraging Community Partnerships to Support Farm to School Initiatives” – Coordinated School Health Conference Presentation 3/2020:

Learn more about Local Food Procurement

PRINT OUT RESOURCES

10 Ways to Celebrate Farm to School Month

Gibson County Apple Crunch Day Activity Sheet

Weakley County Apple Crunch Day Activity Sheet

Taste of Tennessee – A harvest of the month program

Afterschool Pumpkin Activity Sheet

Afterschool Sweet Potato Activity Sheet

VIDEOS & Virtual Meet-UPs

Blackberry Pond Farm Hydroponics

Giffin Farms Regenerative Agriculture.

Local Food Procurement Discussion with Farmers and School Nutrition Directors

The Power of A Purple Hull Pea with Dan Spatz, Healthy Flavors, Arkansas

Stone Soup Project VIDEO.

Interested in starting Farm to School programming at your school? Please contact us!

Several of these projects have been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or Organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

These projects have been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or Organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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