Schools throughout the Shenandoah Valley (as well as schools throughout the rest of Virginia!) are working with local farmers to increase the amount of fresh, healthy, local products served to students. Shenandoah Valley Buy Fresh Buy Local supports these efforts by offering resource support and educational and marketing resources to teachers and others involved in coordinating farm to school programs.
National Farm to School Month is October and Virginia Farm to School Week is November 5–9. Check out the links below to learn how your school can join us in celebrating the rich agricultural heritage of the Shenandoah Valley.
Tip: Think seasonally! Purchasing food in season reduces food miles and is often less expensive than purchasing food out of season. Find out what’s in season by viewing this Virginia farm to school product availability calendar.
Resources for Teachers:
- Ag In The Classroom (Virginia) – Ag in the Classroom (AITC) provides a searchable directory of educational resources. There are resources available on the Virginia Ag in the Classroom site as well, including a PDF of Virginia Agricultural Facts.
- The national network of Ag in the Classroom offers a wealth of teacher resources and lessons, searchable by state and standards.
- National Farm To School Network offers several curricular resources developed by teachers across the country. One particular good tool on this site is the Communications Toolkit. Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services maintains the site for the Virginia Farm to School program, where you can learn more about what specific school districts are doing to incorporate local food into students’ diets.
- Nourish – “An educational initiative designed to open a meaningful conversation about food and sustainability, particularly in schools and communities,” Nourish offers an entire curriculum about food and sustainability, free of charge. (Shenandoah Valley Buy Fresh Buy Local has teacher resource binders to loan to local educators with all of the Nourish curriculum resources, including the Nourish DVDs.)
- My American Farm, the educational arm of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, provides a website “built for educators, learners and their families” with interactive games and resources.
- Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, a non-profit farm and education center in New York, has an extensive list of online teaching resources and book recommendations on their website.
- Sustainable Table provides teaching resources about sustainable agriculture.
Publications and Research:
- FarmtoSchool.org – Link to all resources and publications
- Farm to School: Case Studies and Resources for Success
- Going Local: Paths to Success for Farm to Schools Programs
- Defining Success in the Farm to School Arena
- Do Farm to School Programs Make a Difference? Finding and Future Research Needs
- Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues
- Cultivating Virginia Farm to School: Growing from Grassroots
- Roanoke Valley Farm to School Plan of Action
What’s your favorite farm to school resource? Let us know!