Farm to School Program



  • Food & Nutrition Division
  • 405 S. 21st St. Sparks, NV 89431
  • 775-353-3758

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 food producers.

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
  • Improve institution-community relationships 

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 local producers.

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 schools.

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.