What is Farm to School?
According to the National Farm to School Network, "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 sites. 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 programs consists of three core elements: Procurement, Education, and School Gardens. Each of these elements provides unique opportunities to advance racial and social equity and reduce disparities in access to nutrition programs and healthy, local foods.
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Marin County's Farm to School Programs
Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative
The child obesity rate in Marin County is 30% and 1 in 4 children are food insecure. These statistics are alarming and illustrate the major disparities in our county. Farm to school programs can address these issues by implementing nutrition education into school curricula, increasing participation in school lunch programs, and supporting healthier lifestyles. Our farm to school activities target the five school districts in the county with the highest obesity rates. The San Rafael City School District served as our first pilot site.
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Farm to Student Collaborative
To promote and advance farm to school activities throughout the county, the Marin County Farm to Student Collaborative was formed. The Collaborative, which consists of a dedicated group of local community members, utilizes a county-wide approach and an equity lens to implement the three core elements of the National Farm to School Framework. The Collaborative is determined to bring equitable access to healthy foods to all students by implementing equitable food systems in Marin County schools while being sensitive to the unique needs and constraints of each school.
Mission: To increase awareness of nutrition education, healthy eating and waste diversion at all Marin County schools Pre K-12 through the development of community-based partnerships, which empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well-being.
Marin County's farm to school programs are driven by a diverse group of partners, including school districts, non-profit organizations, food banks, governmental agencies, and local businesses. Some of our partners include:
Awards and Recognition
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Accomplishments in SRCS:
★ 2014 All SRCS school have salad bars everyday
★ 2015 opened San Pedro School Farm
★ 2015 started buying produce from our school gardens/ over 1850 lbs
★ Davidson Garden Club now an elective
★ Purchasing directly from local farmers
★ Awarded Golden Seed Award
★ Awarded bronze level healthiest school in the nation
★ After school programs: gardening, cooking, nutrition education, arts, food justice
★ Collaborative with county & local non profits
Accomplishments in NUSD:
★ Established a District Wellness Committee
★ Food labs served 3000 students
★ Buying from local farmers
★ Awarded bronze level healthiest school in the nation at two NUSD schools
★ By the end of 2018/19 school year all elementary schools will have bulk milk machines
★ Redirected over 13,0000 pounds of food to extrafood.org
★Recognized as the Grand Marshal for the 4th of July parade
Accomplishments in Farm to Pre K:
★ Received grant money from MCF
★ Establishing gardens
★ Train the trainer Pre K teachers in nutrition, physical ed & garden