This report was produced by the Vermont Department of Health on behalf of the Vermont Farm to School Network. Get full details at vermontfarmtoschool.org/resources/2018-vermont-integrated-food-farm-and-nutrition-programming-data-harvest.
Farm to School programming is bringing local food into school cafeterias to improve overall student health while strengthening the local economy. State statute (Act 63) defines Farm to School as an integrated food, farm, and nutrition education program that utilizes local resources to provide students with locally produced foods as well as farm and nutrition learning opportunities in schools to help them develop healthy eating habits and improve farmers’ incomes and direct access to markets. These programs benefit schools by providing all students equal access to nutritious, high-quality, local food, as well as curriculum with hands-on food, farming, and nutrition education experiences. FTS also strengthens local economies and contributes to vibrant communities. These programs have not only been shown to promote healthy lifestyles but have also been shown to improve children’s behavior and academic performance. Vermont is a strong participant in FTS and is working to expand and deepen FTS work throughout the state. The Vermont FTS Network has a goal that by 2025, 75% of Vermont schools will lead the cultural shift to a values-based food system that engages 75% of our students in integrated food system education; community-based learning; nourishing universal meals; and the experience of self-efficacy, purchasing at least 50% from a socially just and environmentally and financially sustainable regional food system.