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Farm to School

What is Farm to School?

Farm to School initiatives are popping up throughout New York and all over the country – in daycare centers, in public and private schools, and in colleges and universities. These programs focus on featuring locally grown, healthy foods in school meals. They often also include other components such as classroom lessons on food and nutrition; visits to farms and farmers’ markets; creation of school gardens, and the support of school-based community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs.

What is Local?

Local means many different things to different people. To some, local could be within a 30-mile radius, where other organizations have expanded that radius to 400 miles! Some organizations do not qualify something as local based on the distance traveled, but by whether the product was made in that state or surrounding states. According to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, "local" refers to any product grown or produced in the state of New York. We recommend our local schools aim to buy within the Adirondack Park as their first choice, then extend to 150-mile radius, and finally if unable to find the product within that range, to search all of NY State. 

The 3 C's of Farm to School

  • Cafeteria - Serving local produce in school meals
  • Classroom - Teaching students about the importance of agriculture
  • Community - Involving the collective wisdom of the community, helping the farmers and families that live in the community gain a stronger connection to the schools through field trips, lectures, and other events.

Warren County

The Cornell Cooperative Extension Warren County Farm to School Program is currently working to strengthen partnerships between local food producers and area public schools in Warren and Washington Counties. Participating schools are looking to source fresh, locally produced, healthy foods whenever possible and incorporate these items into school meals. Schools in our program include Bolton, Fort Ann, Glens Falls City, Glens Falls Common, Hadley-Luzerne, Johnsburg, Lake George, North Warren, Queensbury, Warrensburg, and Whitehall. 

Farm to School Network

The National Farm to School Network is an information, advocacy, and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education into school systems and early care and education environments.

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 early care and education settings. 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.

Thank you to the National Farm to School Network for this information.

This program is funded through the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Farm to School grant and CCE Warren County. 


Julie Johnson
Nutrition & Food Systems Educator

Last updated May 6, 2024