Seeds to Success: The Louisiana Farm to School Program
What is Farm to School?
Farm to School is a nationwide effort to connect schools with local, fresh food while generating excitement around healthy food choices among children. While every farm to school program looks somewhat different, they generally include one of the three core elements of farm to school programs: procurement (food purchases and the use of local foods as meals, snacks, and taste tests), education (educational activities related to agriculture, food, health, or nutrition), and school gardens (hands-on learning and engagement through gardening). Students learn about local agriculture and have access to delicious local foods; farmers gain new markets for their products; and local economies grow stronger.
Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools. Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as to educational opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons, and farm field trips. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities.
Seeds to Success: The Louisiana Farm to School Program
In 2016, Governor John Bel Edwards signed Act 404, requiring the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to develop and implement a farm to school program to promote the use of locally grown and raised agricultural products in school nutrition programs.
Across the state, educators, food service professionals, and growers are collaborating around farm to school to increase equity, improve health outcomes for students, and advance economic opportunities for farmers.
We believe farm to school programs should be an integral and fundamental component of strong and equitable local and regional food systems. Therefore, Louisiana Farm to School is now Seeds to Success: The Louisiana Farm to School Program, an umbrella for all aspects of farm to school and local food systems. Our hope for Seeds to Success is to empower communities to transform our food systems through local food sourcing and nutrition and agriculture education in Louisiana school systems.
Seeds to Success acts as an umbrella for all the programs Louisiana Farm to School has to offer, ensuring the program continues growing to meet the needs of Louisianans, both young and young at heart. Seeds to Success will support the continued growth of Louisiana’s farm to school movement. We strive to provide timely farm to school resources that will increase healthy food choices and educational opportunities that connect schools with farms and communities in Louisiana.
According to the 2019 U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Census, over 55% of Louisiana school districts are participating in farm to school programming, impacting roughly 505,811 students. Already, 65.9% of Child Nutrition Programs invest in local economies through local food purchasing for the National School Lunch Program statewide.
Seeds to Success: The Louisiana Farm to School Program is made possible through an agreement between the LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Department of Education Division of Nutrition Support and funded through the United States Department of Agriculture. This partnership focuses on providing technical assistance to improve access to local foods in schools; coordinating training and networking for farm to school stakeholders statewide through state or regional conferences, workshops, online forums and other events; disseminating resources, promotion, and guidance materials to improve access to local foods in schools; and connecting producers and farmers with school food service and distributors.
Seeding LA (formerly Seeds to Success)
We strive to provide a resource for Louisiana students, parents, and teachers to find fun and educational materials related to agriculture and nutrition both at school and at home. The Seeding LA project sprouted out of a 2019 U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School grant, known previously as Seeds to Success. It started with the idea that our relationship with food transforms when we are able to experience it unfolding, from seed to plate.
The goal of Seeding LA is to support the implementation of farm to school programming in the classroom in connection with school gardens, to increase knowledge and awareness of fresh, locally grown food for the youth of Louisiana.
Create an account to bookmark and save crop guides from Seeds to Sow and lesson plans from Seeds to Know! You can also add places, events, and organizations to the Louisiana resource page.
Join the Seeds to Success Facebook group to connect with fellow Louisiana gardeners and teachers in an open, interactive forum. Ask and answer gardening questions, exchange tips on lesson plans and activities, and share valuable resources.
Harvest of the Month
If you are looking for a way to engage your school or the community, the Louisiana Harvest of the Month program is a great complement to Seeding LA and other farm to school activities you may currently offer. Louisiana Harvest of the Month, an initiative of Seeds to Success: The Louisiana Farm to School Program, can help launch or grow your farm to school program. It provides an easy-to-follow framework and ready-to-use materials, and showcases locally grown foods each month through beautifully designed marketing materials such as posters, newsletters, and coloring sheets. Participating sites will receive a free packet of materials as well as guides, stickers, and additional resources.
Join the Program! Do you want to start a Harvest of the Month program at your school or institution? Louisiana K-12 schools and youth organizations can register free of charge at any point during the school year. In addition to receiving all materials in a printed packet, registered sites will have access to workshops, professional development opportunities, and technical support. Register Here for the Louisiana Harvest of the Month program.