At first, getting a Farm to School program going may feel overwhelming. But there are several small steps to help get Farm to School started in your community.
Careful planning is key to developing a successful and rewarding Farm to School program. The following suggestions and resources can help you plan, implement, sustain and evaluate your program.
- First, contact your local office of Cooperative Extension for information and resources. Offices of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), located throughout New York State, have professional staff with expertise in food and nutrition, local agriculture, and community development. Many CCE professionals have been involved with various Farm to School programs.
- See Getting Started with Farm to School by the National Farm to School Network. It provides a clear, concise overview of important planning steps, that include: assessing where you are; forming a team to collaborate; establishing attainable goals; learning from others; and promoting Farm to School in your community.
- See A Guide for Farm to School Community Action Planning, by VT FEED, and available to download from their website, for more extensive guidance on how to plan and develop a Farm to School program.
- Refer to the National Farm to School Network’s Evaluation for Transformation: A Cross Sectoral Evaluation Framework for Farm to School to better understand and articulate achievable outcomes for Farm to School programming.
- Use conceptual tools, such as the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension’s Logic Model or the Cornell Farm to School’s Action Plan to help plan and evaluate your Farm to School efforts.
- Refer to specific Focus sections for more information about planning and implementing different types of Farm to School programs.