Ohio’s Farm to School program provides youth, pre-K through college, with access to nutritious food, while supporting local farmers and communities. This program not only provides young people with fresh, local food, but also helps them understand where their food comes from and how food choices affect their health, environment and community.
- What is Farm to School
- Why Farm to School?
- Who is Doing Farm to School Projects in Ohio?
- Organizations that Support Farm to School
Farm to school initiatives involve connecting schools with local farms by bringing fresh, nutritious foods from local farms into school cafeterias and by offering students experiential learning opportunities through farm visits, food and nutrition educational activities, and an incorporated nutrition education curriculum. Such initiatives serve to help support local farmers and keep food dollars in local economies, and to help create a generation of informed food consumers ― informed of the nutritional significance of their food choices, but also the economic, environmental, and social impact.
- Food Service Personnel Serve Fresh Food in School Breakfast, Lunch, After School Snack & Summer Meal Programs
- Farm fresh salad bar offered as part of the National School Lunch Program
- One or more local food items featured in the cafeteria
- One or more local food items featured at a fundraiser or special event
- Local food items used in the hot lunch offering or integrated into the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
- Educators Excite Students with Hands-on Learning & Student Gardens
- Farmers & Other Ohio Food Companies Connect with Schools & Students
- Chefs Get Involved Through Cooking Demonstrations & Taste Tests
Healthy Young People – Students develop healthy eating habits and reduce risks for obesity and other health issues when they have increased access to food education and fresh foods in school meals.
Healthy Economies – Keep more local money in the local economy by connecting schools with farmers. This also leads to greater school lunch participation and thereby revenues for schools.
Healthy Communities – As an important element of a local food system, Farm to School programs bring people and resources together to make their community better for everyone.
The Ohio Farm to School program is part of a national network and involves many local, state and regional partners, advisors and projects. OSU Extension, in The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, provides leadership for this statewide program and representation in the national network. In addition to the interdisciplinary approach taken by OSU Extension, an Advisory Group provides guidance for program developments based on diverse perspectives from agencies, industry associations, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.
Learn about Ohio schools, farmers and youth advocates making a difference in cafeterias, classrooms and communities around the state through our Ohio Success Stories!
Nationally, many organizations support Farm to School programs, including USDA’s Farm to School Team.
- National Farm to School Network
- USDA Farm to School Team
- USDA Team Nutrition
- Real Food Challenge: Farm to College
- Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program–Ohio Department of Education
- Ohio Department of Education
- Ohio Department of Health—Healthy Ohio Program
- Ohio State University Extension Services – Locate Your Nearest Extension Office
Videos about Farm to School
- Introduction to Farm to School from the National Farm to School Network
- Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day)