Mission Statement: The Northwest Education Services’ Farm to School team collaborates with learning community stakeholders to plan and implement programming focused on promoting student health and wellness through engaging learning activities centered around nutrition, fresh foods, and local agriculture. Our engagement focuses on work in the classroom, cafeteria, and wider school community.
Farm to School looks different in every learning community, Northwest Education Services’ program embraces these three main components:
Classroom: Providing educational opportunities that encompass health, nutrition, wellness, and agriculture. Farm to School education can be facilitated through classroom learning activities, store or farm field trips, experiential learning, school garden lessons, and more.
Cafeteria: Presenting students with an inviting and aesthetically pleasing lunchroom and allowing them to try new fresh foods. Farm to School can be promoted through local food sourcing, student taste tests, and marketing healthy food choices.
Community: Support and involvement from community stakeholders like administrators, family, and community members nurture the growth of Farm to School programs. Community involvement includes improving institutional wellness policies, family cooking classes, pop-up farmer’s markets, community volunteers, as well as building partnerships with local businesses and farmers.
What we do…
- Providing students with fresh and nutritious foods
- Increased varieties for schools or institutions
- Supporting local farmers and local economies
- Providing students and teachers with Farm to School learning activities for the classroom, gardens, field trips, and more
- Supporting the Michigan Good Food Charter goal that Michigan institutions purchase 20% of their foods from local growers, producers, and processors by 2020
Who we do it with…
- Foodservice professionals
- Farmers and distributors
- Schools and institutions
- Teachers and administrations
- State government
- Community organizations
- Agricultural commodity groups
- Parents and community members
What is the result?
Farm to School is a collaboration between farmers, food hubs, local food distributors, school food service, school administrators, teachers, parents, students, volunteers and community partners across the 5 counties of Northwest Education Services .
Northwest Education Services’ Farm to School work is predicated on the cultivation of relationships with area elementary school stakeholders to promote collaboration on planning and implementing of programs. Our process begins with understanding the learning community’s story through interviews with a cross-section of school community members. Working with a diverse group of stakeholders allows the team to develop and implement programs that address the specific challenges of each school environment.
The goal of FTS is to change the culture of nutrition and wellness within elementary schools in the region. We will achieve this goal by increasing the capacity of Northwest Education Services’ partner schools to plan and implement Farm to School activities and lessons that provide a healthy school environment for students, is reflective of individual school culture, and is sustainable over the long term.
Northwest Education Services’ Farm to School team will engage school community stakeholders to develop and implement goals and action plans that foster a school culture of health, nutrition, and lifelong student wellness.