In the Schools — Seed to Tray

Growing and Sharing

Fresh, local food

The goal of the Farm to School program is to serve the freshest local produce in school meals, while teaching students about the connection between growing healthy food and growing healthy bodies.

Now in its fourth year, the program provides diverse learning – and eating – opportunities! You can discover which school dishes feature local produce each week by clicking the dish on the online menu. You can find recipes for home use on our recipes page.

Local Salads

throughout the growing season

We are fortunate that our local growing season corresponds almost perfectly with the school year. Between mid-October and the end of April, every salad in Alachua County schools contains lettuce and/or kale grown in the county. During the warmer months, local cucumbers and green peppers are included as well.

In addition to food purchased from local farms, school gardens at 15 schools are producing salad fixings and collard greens for school lunches.

Salad made with local tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce

Our Programs

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Harvest of the Month

Harvest of the Month

Each month a different local product is highlighted and served on the lunch line. Elementary school students choosing the product receive a trading card with information about the farm where it grew and nutritional information about the fruit or vegetable offered. During SY2019-20 students were offered Florida  blueberries, satsumas, pomelos, Murasaki sweet potatoes, muscadine grapes, brown rice, and strawberries.

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Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

Students at thirteen elementary schools participate in the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetables program. This program offers children a fruit or vegetable snack every day, introducing them to a variety of fruits and vegetables in an effort to combat obesity. Starting in the spring of 20 school year, we were able to take advantage of allowances in the program due to the covid pandemic  to offer students whole products form local farms each week, allowing us to purchase over 40,000 pounds of produce from our regional farms during 2019-20. We are on track to beat that record during 2020-21. 

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On Point Food Truck

On Point Food Truck

Our food truck delivers fresh food, custom-made, to district high school students. The food truck offers the Farm to School program the opportunity to try out new products on a small scale. Since it started making its run over the summer of 2017, it has served up tasty dishes made from local products, including sweet potato oven fries, white potato wedges, yard long beans in an Asian noodle bowl, potato salad, and local yellow squash – all in an attractive, fun package.

By the Numbers

The Reach of the Farm to School Program During School Year 2018-19

Link to Studies Supporting Farm to School Programming

UF Plate Waste Study

Farm to School program proving its wealth in health: “Results showed students at schools with a FTS program ate 37% more vegetables than the average student consumed before their school adopted the program. In addition, the children consumed 11% more fruit.”

School Garden Research

“USDA supports school gardens as a proven tactic for improving children’s attitudes and consumption of produce, and for incorporating experiential nutrition and agriculture education into school curriculum.”