Find trends and outlooks, education and more on financing rural America from Farm Credit Services of America.

More Content

Farm to School Movement

Farm-to-school leaders and advocates have been instrumental in building children’s understanding and connections to fresh, healthy food. The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is meeting this week to further its cause. Among the featured initiatives are a Sea to School Guide for school lunch programs in Maine and pop-up school markets outside childcare facilities in areas of Georgia. Both initiatives received funding support through Farm Credit and Newman’s Own Foundation as part of the NSFN Innovation Awards.

In honor of the farm-to-school movement, we are highlighting some of the initiatives we have had the privilege of supporting through grants and donations. Some focus on local food sourcing, such as donations of beef by producers to school lunch programs, with FCSAmerica paying the processing cost. Others focus on educating school-age children about how their food is processed.

Here is a sampling of the creativity and commitment of farm-to-school advocates in our area:

Raising Nebraska ExhibitRaising Nebraska - An interactive exhibit hall built on the grounds of the Nebraska State Fair, Raising Nebraska engages the mind and senses of visitors, many of them school children.  Exhibits allow people to interact through a virtual combine ride, full-scale pivot irrigation experience and a learning kitchen. The Conversation Pit, Grain Bin Theatre, Agrihouse and Trusted Voices make agriculture real for a consumer audience and showcase the ongoing innovation in food production.

Farm Chat Tool - Even in a rural area like Iowa’s Mitchell County, a growing number of young people have little, if any, experience in agriculture. The result is a growing knowledge gap about how farms operate and how food is produced. Through “virtual farm tours” using tablet computers, students in the Osage Community School District can experience agriculture.

The Big Garden - Building on its community garden model in the states of Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, the Big Garden Farm to School installs edible school gardens and bring our educators into the classroom to share gardening, cooking, nutrition, and preserving skills. During the growing season, food produced in the school garden is used for snacks and distributed to families for use at home. This program connects participants with their local food system as we enjoy local food snacks, meet local farmers, and even visit farms in the area.

Sioux YMCA Learning Garden - Located on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in Dupree, South Dakota, the “Onspewicakiyapi Wojupi,” Lakota for learning garden, is a seed-to-plate concept: young participants do everything from starting seeds, building raised beds and managing soils to cooking and preserving products harvested from the garden.

Truck Farm - No More Empty Pots is a non-profit using a 1975 Chevy pickup transformed into a mobile mini-farm – dubbed Truck Farm Omaha – to educate urban youth about agriculture. FCSAmerica provided a grant for the Truck Farm Omaha program, which reaches 2,000 inner-city youth living in areas where there is limited access to fresh and healthy food, or “food deserts.” Truck Farm Omaha partners with elementary and middle schools during the school year and with an immigrant and refugee program during the summer months.

truck farm omaha


Load more comments
Your comment has been received and is being reviewed.

Comments are moderated and reviewed before they are posted on the site. View our terms of use.


Jul 3, 2014 | Rural Communities

Rising from the Ashes

A New Year’s Eve fire, destroyed the Food Shelf in Fayette, Iowa – along with 51,000 pounds of food, almost a third of the Food Shelf’s annual stock. Now, like the people it serves, the Food Shelf is in need of help as it works to rebuild.

Dec 30, 2014 | Rural Communities

Easing Hunger Over Winter Break

Feeding South Dakota helps ease the hunger pangs of school-age children over winter break.

Sep 26, 2014 | Rural Communities

‘Raising Nebraska’ to Appreciate Ag

Raising Nebraska, a year-round exhibit hall dedicated to agriculture education, is sponsored by FCSAmerica and others interested in helping consumers better understand food production.

Ready to Talk?

Contact us if you have questions or need more information. Fill out the form, or connect with your local office using the Office Locator.

FCSAmerica serves farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. For inquiries outside this geography, use the Farm Credit Association Locator  to contact your local office.