Sustainable Nantucket is acting as a facilitator for the Farm to School effort on Nantucket
We are partnering with the Nantucket Public Schools Food Services Department, and working with school administration, teachers, parents and community members to faciliate the overall Farm to School effort. This includes addressing the logistics of fresh produce purchasing, organizing school gardens, provide information and education to parents, teachers and students about the Farm to School Program, healthy eating and their local farming community.
What is a Farm to School Program?
A Farm to School Program connects schools and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, building a school garden for education and supplementing school food supply, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.
- The typical food item in the U.S. travels 1,500 to 2,400 miles from farm to plate.
- There are currently 402 schools involved in a Farm to School program in Massachusetts.
- For every dollar spent on local foods in schools, one to three dollars circulate in the local economy.
- Exposure to pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals through our food supply is being increasingly linked to such conditions as ADD, ADHD, antibiotic resistance and early onset of puberty, as well as diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Why Farm to School?
Farm to School Programs BENEFIT CHILDREN.
- Healthier options in the cafeteria results in consumption of more fruits and vegetables with an average increase of one serving per day.
- Farm fresh products taste better, and it has been shown that chilcren prefer them to non-local products.
- Children’s health is improved and current childhod health problems like obesity and early onset type II diabetes are alleviated.
Farm to School Programs BENEFIT SCHOOLS.
- Schools report a 3 to 16 percent increase in school meal participation.
- Local produce can actually cost less than highly processed versions.
- Classrooms benefit from access to hands-on curriculum which encourages community participation, meaningful learning experiences with food, nutrition and agriculture.
Farm to School STRENGTHENs the COMMUNITY and ECONOMY.
- Dollars are circulated through the local economy.
- Selling to schools opens up a substantial new market for farmers.
- New jobs are created.
Can Nantucket Farm to School? YES!!
- We have local farms
- We have a supportive school administration and Food Services Department
- We have a coordinating non-profit, Sustainable Nantucket
- We have dedicated community members
- Massachusetts supports local food in schools
By implementing a Farm to School Program we can help empower the next generation towards making healthy eating choices, inform them about the food system, and engage children in growing food for themselves and their communities.
Who Does What? How You Can Help.
Food Service Department:
Restructuring your meals and ingredients is not an easy job. The FSD director must change what is served, how it is served and how it is delivered and paid for. This is the most intensive aspect of Farm to School, and it would be impossible to function without a willing and dedicated FSD and Food Services Staff.
Local Island Farms:
Local farms provide fresh produce to the FSD. They also allow gleaning from their crop for preserving, grow during the winter season, and supply the FSD with produce for freezing and dehydrating for use in the fall/winter months.
Educate their students by integrating garden
projects and field trips into their curriculum through science, nutrition, physical education, art and design, and media communications. Education in gardening and farming also creates awareness of healthy eating, local economy, and environment.
Can be great allies in explaining the importance that healthy, local choices make on people and the environment. Parents can also volunteer their time to run fundraisers for garden up-keep and to ease budget constraints for the FSD.
Work with Sustainable Nantucket staff to assist with the Farm to School Initiatve in a variety of ways including: mentoring students and building gardens,assisting with gleaning on the farms, doing research and spreading the word about Farm to School, etc.
School Board and Wellness Committees:
Hold the power of shaping policies that support Farm to School efforts, and fulfill requirements of our district’s Wellness Policy
For a printable version of our Farm to School brochure, click here.