Supporting Healthy Kids, Healthy Farms, and Healthy Communities
Farm to school is a common sense approach to child nutrition that empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. As part of the upcoming Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization, Congress needs to build on the success of farm to school by strengthening and expanding the program’s scope and by providing additional mandatory funding.
The Farm to School Act of 2015 will continue and expand upon the successes of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program by:
- Fully including preschools, summer food service program sites, and after school programs in the USDA Farm to School Grant Program (F2S);
- Increasing annual mandatory funding from $5 million to $15 million to better meet the high demand and need for this funding;
- Improving program participation from beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers; and
- Increasing access among tribal schools to farm-fresh and traditional foods, especially from tribal producers.
For More Information and to Take Action
- To stay up to date and to find out how you can get involved with the Farm to School Act of 2015, sign up for action alerts on the sidebar of this page.
- For organizations interested in supporting the Farm to School Act of 2015, please add your organization’s name to our organizational sign-on letter to Congress.
- For individuals interested in supporting the Farm to School Act of 2015, please add your name to our citizen sign-on letter to Congress.
- To learn more about the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, please see NSAC’s F2S page in our Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs.
- To learn more about farm to school basics and efforts nationwide, see the National Farm to School Network’s What is Farm to School? page.
Why It Matters
- Over 30 percent of all children in the US are overweight or obese, resulting in more missed school days and poorer academic achievement; obese youth are also at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and psychological problems and incur $19,000 more in lifetime medical costs than children of a normal weight, totaling roughly $14 billion in additional medical costs for the country. The Farm to School Grant Program helps children improve their access to and consumption of healthy foods.
- Native American communities face disproportionately high rates of overweight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Encouraging farm to school partnerships between tribal schools and tribal producers will increase consumption of nutritious traditional foods while also supporting Native farmers and ranchers.
- Farmers and ranchers receive only 16 cents out of every dollar spent on food, down significantly from the 31 cents they received in 1980; rural poverty and jobless rates are consistently higher than urban poverty rates. The Farm to School Grant Program helps combat rural unemployment by boosting farm income through increased marketing opportunities.
The Benefits of Farm to School
Farm to school activities provide a variety of benefits to students, parents, schools, communities, and food producers, including:
- Strengthens children’s knowledge of agriculture, food, nutrition,and the environment;
- Increases children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables;
- Increases market opportunities for farmers, fishers, ranchers, and local food system entrepreneurs;
- and supports community and economic development.
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) are partnering to advance farm to school priorities in the 2015 reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act (CNR 2015), with the shared goal of supporting stronger communities, healthier children and resilient farms.