Through a survey of eight state Extension Systems, results show that on average, Extension professionals are supporting at least one farm to school-related activity and that respondents were interested in supporting farm to school much more than they currently are. The number one farm to school activity that respondents were involved in was school or community gardening programs.
Extension professionals were also found to be supporting farm to school initiatives by helping producers market and sell their products to schools, coordinating farm-based field trips and tours for students, and helping host producers at schools for presentations about local foods and agriculture.
Many of the Extension professionals that completed the survey stated that they felt Cooperative Extension should play an increased role in local and regional farm to school programs but that they need additional training and encouragement to get more involved. This finding is one of the reasons why the USDA Farm to School Program launched a webinar series focused on helping Extension professionals become more knowledgeable about ways they can support farm to school.
The partnership of ISU Extension and Outreach and the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative has been used as an example of how Cooperative Extension works with community partners to support Farm to School. NE Iowa’s Teresa Wiemerslage was a speaker in one of the webinars and is quoted in the newest fact sheet.
Source: USDA Blog, 9/13/13.