National Farm to School Policies

Many efforts have been made at the federal level to support farm to school initiatives in the last 9 years. Learn more about some of the current policies in effect below.

USDA Farm to School Program

In 2010, the National Farm to School Network and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition – along with a network of supporters from across the country – successfully advocated for funding of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This provided an initial $5 million in grant funding for innovative farm to school projects by schools, nonprofits, farmers, and local, state and tribal government entities. 

From FY 2013 to FY 2018, the program received more than 1,900 applications totaling more than $140 million in requests. Unfortunately, demand far exceeds the amount of funding: only 436 projects (~$30 million) were able to be funded during this 6-year period. However, thanks to the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, farm to school promoters should be aware that funding will increase over the next two years. In FY 2019 and FY 2020, the USDA Office of Community Food Systems, which oversees the Farm to School Grant Program, will be able to provide $7.5 million per year to help reach more communities seeking to incorporate local products into school meal programs, integrate food & ag education into the classroom, and cultivate and expand school gardens. 

Ongoing National Policy Initiatives

National Farm to School Network Policy Advocacy page and  Policy Handbook for Farm to School Advocates: Farm to school legislation is a key strategy for making local food procurement, school gardens, and food education a reality for millions of children, farmers, and communities across the country. We’re excited to share a new resource to help partners and advocates in these efforts

The USDA Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables and Evaluation of the UFV shares evaluation of the pilot project which allows states more flexibility in procuring fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. 

DELIVERING COMMUNITY BENEFIT: Healthy food playbook Farm to school is part of a broader farm-to-institution movement, including farm to health care, helping to build local, sustainable food production across the country. In 2015, local food sales to institutions accounted for 40 percent of all total local food sales by farmers and ranchers, making institutional sales an important market for these producers. Institutional commitment to local procurement can influence supply chain development and spur market transformation. 

Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization – 2022 National Farm to School Network examines the Child Nutrition Act to shift power for a racially just food system and provides a Take Action connect.