Over the last 4 years, Feed Our Future has worked in partnership with local school districts to invest over $300,000 in the local food economy through local food purchases, directly benefiting our local producers and food hubs. Farm to school programs continue to increase in popularity as more school districts realize the connection between good nutrition and academic performance. The community also benefits from the tremendous impact on local farmers and food economies.
Given the positive benefits, here are 8 simple ways to jumpstart farm-to-school activities in your own community.
1. Raise awareness with stickers, pins, posters and more. We offer a variety of promotional kits that encourage students of all grade levels to develop positive relationships with healthy foods. Explore and purchase a Feed Our Future kit for your students here.
2. Take a field trip. It’s one thing to tell kids about the benefits of local, healthy nutrition. It’s another to show them. A visit to a nearby farm or community garden gives students a first-hand, sensory experience of how their food is grown, cultivated and cared for before it ends up on their plates.
3. Host on-site demos. Bring in the experts like local farmers, chefs and nutritionists to teach to your students about healthy habits and recipes. We’re happy to connect you with experts in Northeast Ohio.
4. Let students sport their pride. Create fun days or events for students to show off their favorite healthy foods. Encourage them to wear a favorite healthy snack on their shirt – like this Apple T-Shirt – or create their own healthy food-themed gear.
5. Substitute unhealthy birthday treats. Instead of the traditional cupcakes and candies, supply tasty, healthy birthday snacks to share with classmates.
6. Get cooking. All of our promotional bundles include seasonal recipe cards to help you plan and cook healthy meals at home or in the school cafeteria. Make meal prep fun with songs or games.
7. Plant a garden. Help your students grow and care for their own healthy produce. If you don’t have the time or budget for a large garden, start small with potted herbs and veggies.
Another idea: Collaborate with your neighbors or other schools in your district to cultivate a community garden. This allows you to spread the responsibilities and share the harvest.
8. Celebrate seasonal foods. Create a calendar that reminds students of seasonal fruits and veggies every month. Our promotional kits include Harvest of the Month posters that offer fun facts and recipes related to various healthy foods.
In addition to these farm-to-school ideas, we hope you’ll take the pledge and help us spread our mission to inspire young minds to make healthy food choices. In return, you will receive more resources to help you amplify the farm to school movement in your community.