Florida Farm to School Initiative
Florida Farm to School Initiative
Florida’s Farm to School initiative works to increase Florida commodities served in schools, offer healthier meal options for Florida’s children and get students involved with nutrition and agriculture education through school garden activities.
Farm to School strengthens local food systems in Florida by expanding access between schools, farms and communities. Through local procurement efforts, capacity building, resource development, technical assistance and training, Florida Farm to School fosters positive economic relationships between food producers and schools.
The mission of the Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness is to:
- Ensure every child in Florida has access to a healthy and nutritious meal each day
- Increase awareness and consumption of Florida’s agricultural commodities
- Reduce food insecurity among Florida’s most vulnerable populations
- Encourage healthy lifestyles among Florida residents
Farm to School strengthens local food systems in Florida by fostering positive economic relationships between food producers and schools. The initiative also increases awareness of agricultural food systems and nutrition education. It expands access between schools, farms and communities through local procurement, capacity building, resource development and technical assistance and training.
To be the national leader in the administration of food, nutrition and wellness initiatives.
Farm to School provides all kids access to nutritious, high-quality, local food so they are ready to learn and grow. Farm to School activities enhance classroom education through hands-on learning related to food, health, agriculture and nutrition.
Farm to School can serve as a significant financial opportunity for farmers, fishers, ranchers, food processors and food manufacturers by opening the doors to an institutional market worth billions of dollars.
Farm to School benefits everyone from students, teachers and administrators to parents and farmers, providing opportunities to build family and community engagement. Buying from local producers and processors creates new jobs and strengthens the local economy.
Farm to School implementation will vary by location but will always include one or more of the following:
Teaching students about sustainable food systems, nutrition and healthy eating habits
- School Gardens
Engaging students in hands-on learning through gardening activities and workshops
Increasing school access to nutritious, locally sourced Florida foods
As a Farm to School Coordinator and Food Waste Specialist at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bela Delgado has a passion for implementing sustainable food systems and creating resilient agriculture literacy programs in Florida schools. In this role, she provides support in the development and implementation of Food Recovery programs in schools and educational programming in the Farm to School initiative.
Michael Carter has been working in sustainable agriculture for nearly a decade and is a Farm to School Outreach Coordinator for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In this role, he works to expand and build the Farm to School initiative by assisting in the establishment of school gardens, educational programming and integrating fresh Florida produce into schools.
Natasha Smith serves as a Farm to School Coordinator and Florida Certified Contract Manager for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In her role, she educates Florida farmers/producers about Farm to School procurement processes/opportunities and is an insightful and engaging speaker and training facilitator. She also develops key relationships as FDACS works to introduce and implement the new Florida Farm Connect tool.
During the 2021-22 school year, Florida schools purchased over $45 million in Florida products.