California Farm to School Program

California Farm to School Program


About the Program

Farm to School Programs are a vital way to improve the health and well-being of California schoolchildren through integrated nutrition education and healthy food access. Hundreds of millions of meals are served each year in California schools, and expanding opportunities for local food procurement that is tied to nutrition education is essential for establishing healthy eating habits that children can carry into adulthood. Procurement of more California grown food also supports connecting California's agriculture to California consumers.

The Budget Act of 2020 includes a $10 million one-time General Fund allocation for the 2020-21 fiscal year and $1.5 million annually thereafter for the California Department of Food and Agriculture to establish a Farm to School Grant Program and provide ongoing support for the California Farm to School Network. The grant program will help support California farmers and expand healthy food access by providing grants to schools to establish programs that promote local and California grown food procurement and utilization in school meals. It will also support food and agriculture education in classrooms and cafeterias through experiential learning opportunities in school gardens, on farms and through other culinary and agricultural pathways. This funding will also support the Farm to School Working Group to advance farm to school implementation and explore how to create a more resilient and climate-smart food supply in California.

The Office of Farm to Fork hosts the California Farm to School Network, which functions as a communications hub and a convener across many organizations and regions in the state. The Network aligns Farm to School efforts, shares resources, and bring farmers, schools, distributors, and practitioners together. The Office is also a Core Partner for the National Farm to School Network and partners with the California Department of Education, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, UEPI, and Life Lab in support of the California Farm to School Network.

For more information regarding the California Farm to School Program, please email cafarmtoschool@cdfa.ca.gov


History

The California Farm to School Network originated as the California Farm to School Taskforce, which was formed in 2004 to provide coordination and leadership around Farm to School programming. In 2013, the Taskforce broadened its work and transitioned to a network open to everyone in the state of California who is working on Farm to School programs and projects. In 2017 the California Farm to School Network transitioned to the California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Farm to Fork.


2021 CA Farm to School Conference

Thank you to all who participated in the 2021 California Farm to School Conference! View conference information and resources.


Farm to School Incubator Grant Program

The California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Farm to Fork (CDFA-F2F) 2021 California Farm to School Incubator Grant Program is focused on supporting local and regional farm to school projects that promote nutrition education, sustainable food production and procurement, and high-quality student engagement through experiential learning.

Through this program, CDFA-F2F was able to award $8.496 million in grants to 60 Farm to School projects throughout the state!

The Farm to School Incubator Grant Program includes two funding tracks:

In Track 1, or the California Farm to School Innovation Grant, CDFA is funding 46 projects, awarding grants ranging from $20,000 to $500,000 to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) throughout the state. Selected through a competitive process, these projects focus on establishing new or expanding existing integrated farm to school programs that: (1) procure California-grown or California-produced whole or minimally processed foods and integrate these foods into school meals; and (2) coordinate educational opportunities between cafeteria, classroom and community.

In Track 2, or the California Farm to School Regional Partnerships Grant, CDFA is funding 14 projects, awarding grants ranging from about $144,000 to $250,000 to innovative farm to school partnerships comprised of LEAs and regional partners. Selected through a competitive process, these projects focus on expanding existing farm to school initiatives and increasing collaboration and coordination between producers and the schools they serve.

Resources

If you have any questions related to the Farm to School Incubator Grant Program, please contact CDFA-F2F via email at cafarmtofork@cdfa.ca.gov.


Contact Us

Email cafarmtoschool@cdfa.ca.gov