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Farm to School


The Iowa Farm to School Program was created by legislation that passed during the 2007 legislative session that provided funding to link schools and children with local farmers and organizations to offer fresh, locally grown food and nutrition based educational opportunities. The program is being coordinated through Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and the Iowa Department of Education. Farm-to-School is broadly defined as any program that connects schools and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.

There are many ways to implement “Farm-to-School” and it does not just mean serving local foods as a part of the meal line. Ideas include:

  • Invite a local farmer, chef or have food service staff present an activity or talk to students about a food and how it is grown.
  • Plan nutrition education activities, such as Harvest of the Month, featuring a local food product that is in season.
  • Collaborate with teachers to plan an outdoor garden plot or container gardening activity.
  • Encourage the use of local foods as a healthy school fundraiser or a feature at a special event.

Visit the Iowa Farm-to-School website or Facebook page, managed by IDALS, for more information about the program and Iowa initiatives.

Iowa Farm to School Local Purchase Report - Demonstrates the increasing demand for locally grown product and offers a snapshot to schools across the state as to prices being paid for Iowa-grown fruits and vegetables. This report may have a significant impact in the future production of Iowa-grown product. Report your school's local purchases with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) by contacting John Goetz at or 515-284-4460.

Helping Schools Buy Local

Procurement Decision Tree - There are many ways to buy local products. This chart presents several options for including your desire for local foods in the procurement process.

Farm to School Resources

Go Local & Get Green! - School fundraisers using locally grown and produced Iowa food and products can be a healthier alternative to what your school may currently be offering. Use these fundraisers tips to raise funds and engage the community while supporting local products and the local economy.

Local Food Fundraiser - Summary of a fundraising pilot that took place at MFL MarMac with the Iowa Food Hub that included products from northeast Iowa farms and businesses.

Iowa Planting and Harvest Calendar - Tool for growers that provides guidance on planting and harvest dates, recipes using local foods and useful tips. For printed copies, please contact Tammy Stotts at

Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation - One-stop shop for integrating agriculture and using agriculture to help teach STEM, language arts, social studies, and other concepts. Find lesson plans, grant opportunities, and other resources for teachers and students.

Iowa Kids Love Iowa Foods Poster - Poster developed in partnership with Iowa Department of Education, IDALS, and Iowa commodity groups.

Farm to School Ideas for the Classroom - Midwest Dairy Council

Growing Farm-to-School Workshops

Growing Farm to School in Iowa - Presented by Chef Cyndie Story, PhD, RD, CC that highlighted the ingredients needed to make Farm to School work. Cyndie emphasized the health benefits greatly outweigh food safety risks, and provided guidance for Food Service Directors.

School Garden Resources

The school garden not only shows students where their food comes from, but can provide a “hands on” educational opportunity.

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on March 21, 2018 at 3:36am.