The National Farm to School Network sprouted from this desire to support community-based food systems, strengthen family farms, and improve student health by reducing childhood obesity. Eight regional lead agencies and national staff provide free training and technical assistance, information services, networking, and support for policy, media and marketing activities. Farm to School is a comprehensive program that extends beyond farm fresh salad bars and local foods in the cafeteria to include waste management programs like composting, and experiential education opportunities such as planting school gardens, cooking demonstrations and farm tours. The Farm to School approach helps children understand where their food comes from and how their food choices impact their bodies, the environment and their communities at large.
Recently, the USDA established "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food," an initiative which focuses on the importance of understanding where our food comes from and how it gets to our plate. In response to the growing demand for Farm to School activities, the "USDA Farm to School Team" was developed out of the "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" Initiative.
USDA recognizes the growing interest among school districts and communities to incorporate regionally and locally produced farm foods into the school nutrition programs. USDA is supporting Farm to School efforts through a number of initiatives, and continues to look for ways to help facilitate this important connection.