Ohio Farm to School State Network and Advisory 2021 Meeting Dates:
June 10, September 9, December 9
Join the Ohio Farm to School Advisory and State Network meetings to connect with organizations, state agencies, and schools participating in Farm to School efforts throughout Ohio. All 2020 meetings are on Thursdays from 9:30 am–11:30 am. Meetings will be held virtually until further notice.
What is Farm to School?
Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education sites.
Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities.
Farm to school implementation differs by location but always includes one or more of the following:
- Procurement: Local foods are purchased, promoted and served in the cafeteria or as a snack or taste-test;
- School gardens: Students engage in hands-on learning through gardening; and
- Education: Students participate in education activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition.
Why Farm to School?
Farm to school provides all kids access to nutritious, high quality, local food so they are ready to learn and grow. Farm to school activities enhance classroom education through hands-on learning related to food, health, agriculture and nutrition.
Farm to school can serve as a significant financial opportunity for farmers, fishers, ranchers, food processors and food manufacturers by opening the doors to an institutional market worth billions of dollars.
Farm to school benefits everyone from students, teachers and administrators to parents and farmers, providing opportunities to build family and community engagement. Buying from local producers and processors creates new jobs and strengthens the local economy.
About Ohio Farm to School
Ohio schools have been working with farmers, collaborating with community leaders and connecting students with local food and nutrition education for decades. Formally, the Ohio Farm to School effort began with steering committee members guiding development of a national program.
In 2005, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation provided a planning grant for development of the National Farm to School Network, and the 2nd National Farm to Cafeteria Conference was held at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH with over 350 attendees. By 2011, a national network was established with Farm to School representation in all 50 states.
There was so much interest in the Farm to School program in Ohio that more than 300 food producers, school food service personnel, educators and community leaders attended the Ohio Farm to School Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. State leadership was initially provided through the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and transitioned to the Ohio State University (OSU) Extension in September 2011. The national and state program continues to develop through the guidance of local, state, regional and national collaboration.