Farm to School Program
- Food & Nutrition Division
- 405 S. 21st St. Sparks, NV 89431
What is Farm to School?
Farm to School (F2S) programs aim to
connect schools and local farms through changing food purchasing and education
practices. F2S programs
take many forms. In general, students gain direct access to healthy
local foods through school meals and are paired with educational opportunities
such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. F2S activities
provide a variety of benefits to students, parents, schools, communities and
Farm to school programs can be
tailored to fit individual needs, but generally include:
- Increase market
opportunities for small farms
- Support local farmers
and the local economy
- Educate eaters about
local farming and food systems
- Improve the quality
of foods served in cafeterias
- Improve nutrition and
prevent obesity and obesity-related diseases
What's Happening in Nevada?
Nevada’s Farm to School Movement is
in its infancy, but ready to grow. In the 2012 the Nevada Department of
Agriculture (NDA) received a Federal F2S grant. The grant provided funding and
resources for food safety training and technical assistance to growers, school
food service directors, distributors, health authorities and schools. This
project formed key relationships that were nearly non-existent prior to the
award resulting in the creation of the Nevada Food Safety Program. This program
has proved to be essential for interested parties to become more familiar with
where to received technical assistance when striving to incorporate F2S programs.
Particularly, the project resulted in a strong foundation that better
understands health regulations to ensure food safety for all food procured from
From this foundation, partnerships
throughout the Nevada local food movement have sparked. Leading the way is the University
of Nevada Reno Cooperative Extension’s High Desert Farming Initiative (HDFI).
They have been instrumental as a model for F2S by participating in the Good
Agriculture Practices food safety training. HDFI has shown Nevada the
possibilities to develop a local market within schools as they are now selling
produce to the universities food services. As well, Urban Roots Garden
Classroom has taken the spotlight to serve as a school garden model for F2S
programs. By participating in the school garden food safety training they are a
resource to illustrate food safety and provide educational materials for interested
Although great progress has been made, there are still barriers NDA is actively addressing. Those identified are meeting the produce demand within schools, farmers dedicating the time to achieve GAP certification, and distribution. Currently, NDA is working to connect resources and people together to move forward. Already, NDA is working with the Great Basin Food Cooperative, U.S. Foods, and producers to evaluate possible avenues for effective distribution. Even with the challenges ahead, NDA is confident in advancing the access to nutritious local food in Nevada.
There are so many ways students, parents, teachers and community members can get involved with Farm to School. From fresh fruit and vegetable tasting in schools and setting up school gardens to hosting farm-raiser fundraising events or integrating nutrition into school wellness policies, there are ways everyone in the community can get involved in farm to school.