Impacts of Farm to School

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Impacts of Farm to School

There is increasingly more information being made available about the impacts of farm to school. Below are just a few articles and resources that address farm-to-school activities and the impacts they have, ranging from child nutrition to economic impact to student attention and classroom participation.

Benefits of Farm to School Factsheet - National Farm to School Network

"From student health and academic achievement, to job creation and family engagement, the benefits of farm to school activities are far reaching – and well documented! NFSN's Benefits of Farm to School factsheet offers an updated, research-based overview of the positive impacts of this approach, including:
  • Increased local economic activity: every dollar invested in farm to school stimulates up to an additional $2.16 of local economic activity
  • Enhanced academic achievement: student grades, test scores, physical activity and social and emotional growth show improvement
  • Improved nutrition habits: families report greater ability and interest in incorporating healthier foods at home
  • Reduced food waste: decreases in overall waste from production to plate"

Farm to School Fuels Economic Growth and Job Creation: Case Studies and Assessment Tools

"Farm to school offers cross-sectoral benefits for children, farmers and communities. Using a survey and case study approach, this report (a collaborative project of the National Farm to School Network and Colorado State University) examines the economic impact of local purchasing and provides new insight into the potential for farm to school procurement to positively impact local economies. The report finds that not only were surveyed farmers satisfied or very satisfied with most aspects of farm to school sales, but farm to school farms purchase more inputs from the local economy, which results in positive local economic impact."

Farm to School Research from USDA Food & Nutrition Services

A collection of research and reports from around the United States on nutrition, health, learning, and other impacts of farm to school work from USDA-FNS.

USDA Farm to School Report - 2010

"During 2010, the USDA Farm to School Team visited 15 school districts across the country that were involved in farm to school related activities in varying capacities, reviewed resource materials, participated in national and regional conferences, and consulted with other organizations that worked with the farm to school community. This report summarizes the observations of these activities. This report also provides suggestions for further action by USDA to support schools in obtaining fresh and healthy food from their local and regional food systems."

The Impact of Seven Cents - Oregon, EcoTrust

An evaluation of the economic impacts of spending an additional 7 cents per meal on locally sourced food.

Summary of research related to garden based education 

This report summarizes research on outcomes of garden-based education on interpersonal skills, scores on science achievement tests, healthy eating.

Evaluating the Economic Impacts of Farm-to-school Procurement

This paper presents a framework for evaluating the economic impacts of farm-to-school programs, adapting the USDA’s “Local Food Economics Toolkit” for this specific context. 

The Economic Impact of Farm-to-School Lunch Programs: A Central Minnesota Example

Health Impact Assessment

A Health Impact Assessment detailing the potential impacts of Oregon's 2011 Farm to School and School Garden legislation

Farm to Preschool Program Evaluation in Los Angeles & San Diego Counties


Healthier Students Are Better Learners: A Missing Link in School Reforms to Close the Achievement Gap

"No matter how well teachers are prepared to teach, no matter what accountability measures are put in place, no matter what governing structures are established for schools, educational progress will be profoundly limited if students are not motivated and able to learn. Particular health problems play a major role in limiting the motivation and ability to learn of urban minority youth. This is why reducing these disparities through a coordinated approach warrants validation as a cohesive school improvement initiative to close the achievement gap. Local, state, and national policies for implementing this recommendation are suggested."


Why Farm to School? National Farm to School Network

National Farm to School Network