Getting Started

The specific goals of Farm-to-School program are determined by the individuals who create it, though they often encompass the following:

  • Increase market opportunities for small farms
  • Support local farmers and the local economy
  • Educate students, parents and school staff about local farming and food systems
  • Improve the quality of foods served in schools
  • Improve nutrition and health of students
  • Improve institution-community relationships

Why Buy Locally Grown Food?

1. Locally grown food tastes better. Food grown in your community was probably picked within the past day or two. Reduced transport time translates to produce that is crisper, sweeter and more flavorful.

2. Local produce is better for you. Fresh produce loses nutrients quickly so locally grown food purchased soon after harvest, retains its nutrients.

3. Local food builds community. When you buy direct from the farmer, you are re-establishing a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing the farmer gives you insight into the seasons, weather and the miracle of growing food.

4. Local food preserves open space and the future. As direct-marketed produce increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. By supporting local farmers today you can help ensure that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, and abundant food.

Messages from area Farm to School participants

  • ‘While it is challenging to source the volume of food required for our school district locally, it is well worth the effort to know that we are providing the freshest and most nutritious foods possible for our students. Our dedicated team of school staff and parents working with local farmers has made our program really successful.’ Alison Demory, Iowa City Community School District
  • ‘It was great to provide my organic sweet potatoes to ICCSD’s meal program. I am really proud to be providing vegetables to the youth of our future. I hope it leads to students making healthier food choices. It is why I farm, for the health of my community.’ James Nisely, Organic Greens, Kalona, IA
  • ‘We feel very lucky that the farmers we purchase from want to connect with the kids, this really strengthens our program. When kids have a connection to their foods they make much better choices in what they eat at school and that carries over to what families eat at home.’ Chris Wilson, West Liberty Schools