About National Farm to School Network
Who we are: The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education (including school gardens) into all schools and early care and education (ECE) settings. Farm to school creates opportunities for children and families to make informed food choices, while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. NFSN has provided vision, leadership and support at the state and national levels to connect and expand the farm to school movement since its establishment in 2007. Our network includes national staff, more than 200 Core and Supporting Partners in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. Territories, an advisory board and thousands of farm to school supporters. NFSN’s tagline “Growing Stronger Together” reinforces an organizational approach and belief that robust movement building is possible only when we work collaboratively across sectors and locations.
What we value: NFSN’s core values are centered on the vision that vibrant local and regional food systems are essential to the health of our children, farms, environment, economy and communities. We strive to build sustainable food systems to nourish children and communities of all races and ethnicities, economic standing and geographic locations. We support living wages and safe working conditions for those involved in the production, processing, packaging, distribution and serving of food. Our goal is to strengthen the national farm to school movement, while keeping intact the diversity of individual farm to school sites across the country. We operate in the spirit of inclusivity and collaboration by leveraging shared resources, ideas and strategies, and creative problem solving. NFSN stakeholders participate in democratic decision-making for our collective work and NFSN’s role implementing a collective vision.
What we’ve accomplished: NFSN’s focus for the last decade has been on developing a strong network of partnerships across sectors, building awareness about farm to school, and increasing activities at the state and regional levels through training, capacity building, and policy advocacy. This approach resulted in the unprecedented growth of farm to school from a handful of sites in the late 1990s to more than 42,000 schools in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. Territories – or 42% of all schools – benefiting more than 23.6 million children (United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm to School Census, 2015). Hosted by NFSN, the biennial National Farm to Cafeteria Conference consistently gathers close to 1,000 stakeholders from across the country and international locations for learning, networking and movement building. Since 2011, NFSN has prioritized ECE settings and Native communities as touch points for expanding our network and activities. A 2018 survey of early care and education providers conducted by NFSN indicates farm to ECE activity in 2,030 sites reaching 255,257 young children in 46 states. NFSN was instrumental in passing a Congressional Resolution in 2010 to establish October as National Farm to School Month, and in that same year in establishing the USDA Farm to School Grant program that has disbursed $25 million in federal grants in the last five years, and has institutionalized national and regional farm to school staffing within USDA.
For more information, please visit www.farmtoschool.org. NFSN is a project of Tides, the nation’s largest fiscal sponsor. Tides is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, CA that works with individuals, groups and funders to implement and accelerate positive social change in the nonprofit sector. For more information, please visit www.tides.org.
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