Farm to School programs bring healthful foods from local farms to school cafeterias and provide students with related lessons on nutrition, agriculture, and gardening. These programs help children understand where their food comes from and the importance of supporting their local communities, while encouraging students to make healthy food choices a part of their everyday lives. Farm to School programs come in a wide variety of forms and formats, but always include one or more of the following components:
Local Food Procurement: Where local foods are purchased, promoted, and served in the cafeteria or as a snack or taste-test.
Education: Where students participate in educational activities related to agriculture, food systems, health, or nutrition. This can include farm field trips or cooking lessons in addition to regular classroom instruction.
School Gardens: Where students engage in hands-on learning through garden education.
A leader in the Farm to School movement for over 20 years, UEPI conducted one of the first Farm to School salad bar pilots in 1997 with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, incubated the National Farm to School Network until 2012 (when it launched into and independent organization), and established “Farm to Preschool” as an extension of Farm to School programming beginning in 2009.
Today, UEPI’s active Farm to School projects include the LA Farm to School Network, the Northeast Los Angeles Farm to School & Wellness Initiative, and Farm to Preschool (described below). UEPI also serves as a core partner with the National Farm to School Network, represents the Greater Los Angeles Region in California Farm to School Network, and chairs the Farm to School & Garden Working Group of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.
The Los Angeles Farm to School Network project provides support to local Farm to School programs by sharing resources, creating networking opportunities, and advancing innovative best practices. In 2017, UEPI launched the LA Farm to School Network website to provide practitioners with a wealth of resources that are catered specifically to the needs of Los Angeles-area programs, including a program map, farmer database, best practice case studies, support organizations, and local resource library.
Sharon Cech | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Northeast Los Angeles Farm to School & Wellness Initiative (a “Champions for Change” project) is a school-based healthy eating and local food promotion program designed to reduce obesity among low-income, SNAP-Ed eligible communities in Los Angeles. This project provides direct support to K-12 school and Early Care and Education (ECE) sites in Northeast Los Angeles in implementing School Wellness policies and programs, including cafeteria improvements and school gardens, as well as creating long-term infrastructure for Farm to School procurement. The project aims to establish better practices and systems for healthy eating and local food systems at Los Angeles schools and child care settings.
Rosa Romero | email@example.com
Rosa Romero | firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the years, UEPI has developed many Farm to School publications, how-to guides, curricula, and other useful tools. To see our full resource library, click here. For more information on current Los Angeles-area programs and resources, check out the LA Farm to School Network website.