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Resources

Schools across the state are digging into farm to school activities.  Across all grade levels and interests, students are planting, harvesting and tasting in early childcare gardens; FFA students are growing produce in school greenhouses and cafeterias are incorporating the fresh produce into fruit and vegetable bars; and local ranchers are donating beef for the National School Lunch Program. Review the resources and best practices available below.

  • National Farm to School Network provides a national scope on farm to school resources and efforts. 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 settings.
  • USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) houses the USDA Farm to School program. OCFS helps child nutrition program operators incorporate local foods in the National School Lunch Program and its associated programs, as well as the Summer Food Service Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program. In addition, OCFS staff works with tribal communities to respond to their desire to better incorporate traditional foods into our meal programs. OCFS accomplishes this through grant making, training and technical assistance and research.
  • USDA’s Farm to School Planning Toolkit This reference for starting or growing a farm to school program is designed for use by schools, school districts and community partners.
  • Self-assessment tool This simple-to-use worksheet from the Minnesota Department of Health provides a checklist to help schools evaluate their current farm to school efforts and identify next steps. 
    • USDA Procuring Local Foods offers a procurement guide, webinars and fact sheets for sourcing local foods.
    • USDA Memos
      • SP-06-2015     Farm to School and School Garden Expenses
      • SP-03-2013     Procurement Geographic Preference O&As – Part II
      • SP-01-2013     Federal Small Purchase Threshold Adjustment
      • SP-18-2011     Procurement Geographic Preference Q&As
      • SP-13-2010     Farm to School Activities
      • SP-32-2009     School Garden Q&As
      • SP-08-2009     Procurement Questions
  • Nebraska Farm to School Local Purchase Report demonstrates the increasing demand for locally grown products and serves as a resource of prices being paid for Nebraska grown fruits and vegetables.  Report your school’s local purchases by using the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Procurement Form. Contact John Goetz at john.goetz@ams.usda.gov or 515-284-4460 for more information and to begin reporting.
  • USDA Farm to School Census is designed to help establish realistic goals to increase the availability of local foods in schools. USDA conducted the first nationwide Farm to School Census in 2013 and the second in 2015. The next Census will be in 2019.