Farm to School programs bring healthy foods from local farms to school cafeterias and provide students with related lessons on health, nutrition, agriculture, and gardening.
UEPI has been a leader in the Farm to School movement for over 15 years. Along with the Community Food Security Coalition, UEPI incubated the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) until 2012, when it launched into an independent organization. UEPI is now a CA State Lead within the National Network. Farm to School programs bring healthy foods from local farms to school cafeterias and provide students with related lessons on health, nutrition, agriculture, and gardening. These programs help children understand where their food comes from and the importance of supporting their local communities, while encouraging students to make healthy food choices a part of their everyday lives. Farm to School programs come in a wide variety of forms and formats, but always include one or more of the following components:
Local Food Procurement: Where local foods are purchased, promoted, and served in the cafeteria or as a snack or taste-test.
Education: Where students participate in educational activities related to agriculture, food, health, or nutrition. This can include farm field trips or cooking lessons in addition to regular classroom instruction.
School Gardens: Where students engage in hands-on learning through gardening.
More recently, in partnership with the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and with support from a host of partners throughout the state, UEPI has launched a California Farm to School Network that strives to link farmers, schools, distributors, youth, and allies across California. The California Farm to School Network (CFSN) is designed to be a one-stop-shop for everything related to Farm to School in the State of California. For more information, please visit our new California Farm to School Network website or contact Sharon Cech for more information.
Over UEPI’s 15+ years of Farm to School leadership and programming, Oxy student interns have played integral roles in pilot projects, publications, community events, and more. For information on upcoming Farm to School internships or other opportunities for student involvement, please visit our “Opportunities" page.
Did you know that Oxy’s Campus Dining purchases almost 15% of its food from local sources? You can find out more about what local items are on the menu each week by scrolling down to the “local highlight" on the Campus Dining sustainability page!