Food Education at school

Education is one of the key facets of the farm to school program. Through farm to school, students participate in educational activities related to agriculture, food, health, and nutrition. Food education is more than nutrition education, it integrates whole food knowledge, growing food and tasting new foods to help our students become better food citizens and achieve a healthy diet as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Why is food education important?

One of the greatest issues we face today is one of convenience: individual food choices are one of the largest contributors to obesity, diabetes, and, ultimately, cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and the world.  Today, approximately 1 in 5 school-aged children in the U.S. is obese, and the percentage of children with obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s. Increased fruit and vegetable consumption has been shown to decrease the risk of obesity, but so many of today’s children are not introduced to fresh fruits and vegetables, do not know how to prepare and eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and do not understand how to grow food in a garden or on the farm.

 What does food education involve?

Food education can occur in the cafeteria, in the classroom, and even outside of the classroom in a school garden or on a farm field trip. Students can learn about new, healthy foods, taste them and go home and ask for them in the home kitchen! Students can also learn about their local community and the jobs that food and agriculture contribute to the local economy. By integrating food education into the school learning experience, students will gain vital knowledge related to agriculture, food, health, and nutrition and will form healthy habits for lifelong wellness.

In the classroom, cafeteria or school garden:

  • Taste testing and voting
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Chef or farmer visit
  • STEM subject integration
  • Meeting academic standards

On a field trip:

  • Local farm in the community
  • Agritourism farm operation
  • Local farmers market
  • Local food business or processor

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