Registration is now open for the Montana Farm to School Producer Training to be held in November-December. Learn more and register.
Calling all farmers & agricultural producers! Are you interested in learning about expanding your business to reach schools? Montana Farm to School is hosting two Bringing the Farm to School: Local Producer Trainings in Fall 2022! Learn from local experts about accessing school markets, growing products for schools, and more. Visit the Training + Events webpage for more information.
Did you miss the Montana Farm to School Showcases or Harvest of the Month Webinar Wednesday? Find current, accessible recordings of past trainings and webinars on the Trainings & Events webpage to stay up-to-date on farm to school around the state.
What is Farm to School?
Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools. Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. Farm to school implementation differs by location but always includes one or more of the following core elements:
Research shows that students who participate in farm to school programs show an increased willingness to try new fruits and vegetables. Kids that have easy access to a variety of high quality fruits and vegetables eat more of them. By combining increased access to local and fresh fruits and vegetables with farm to school educational activities, children demonstrate healthier nutrition behaviors.
Farm to school programs create a new market opportunity for food producers and businesses within their own communities. By establishing either “forward contract” or an informal purchasing agreement with a school district, food producers can plan their upcoming production season and volume knowing that they have a committed buyer for their products.Farm to school programs create more security for local producers, allowing them to continue farming on their land, preserving the agricultural heritage of our communities.
Farm to school provides an excellent marketing opportunity. These programs can enhance student and staff participation in school meal programs by offering fresh and delicious foods. Farm to school programs present a natural connection between the school food service program and classrooms. The cafeteria becomes part of the learning environment for the students. Farm to school programs provide a wonderful opportunity for the school food service staff to connect with the food producers in their community and become important stakeholders in improving their community’s access to healthy, delicious food.
For more information and research on the benefits of farm to school practices, download the National Farm to School Network's Benefits Fact Sheet.
If you are ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work, head over to the Resources page for steps to getting started and a bounty of toolkits, guides, and materials.
Montana Team Nutrition Program works in close collaboration with the Office of Public Instruction School Nutrition Programs. Montana Farm to School is a collaboration between Montana Office of Public Instruction, Montana Team Nutrition Program, Montana State University, and other partners. Check out the Montana Farm to School Leadership Team for more information on how these partners are working together to support farm to school programs throughout Montana!
Montana Farm to School
Montana Team Nutrition Program
Montana State University
324 Reid Hall
PO Box 173370
Bozeman MT 59717-3370
Farm to School Coordinator
Montana Team Nutrition Program works in close collaboration with the Office of Public Instruction School Nutrition Programs. Montana Farm to School is a collaboration between Montana Office of Public Instruction, Montana Team Nutrition Program, Montana State University, and other partners.