National Farm to School Network

Farm to schoolFarm to school is the practice of sourcing local food for schools or preschools and providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, such as school gardens, farm field trips and cooking lessons. Farm to school improves the health of children and communities while supporting local and regional farmers. Since each Farm to School program is shaped by its unique community and region, the National Farm to School Network does not prescribe or impose a list of practices or products for the farm to school approach. The National Farm to School Network supports the work of local farm to school programs all over the country by providing free training and technical assistance, information services, networking, and support for policy, media and marketing activities. Our network includes national staff, eight regional lead agencies and leads in all 50 states. Click on the map above to contact the state lead in your area for more information, or contact someone on our national staff directly. We are here to help you get started and keep programs growing!

What is farm to school? 
Farm to school is broadly defined as any program that connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers. Farm to school programs exist in all 50 states, but since farm to school is a grassroots movement, programs are as diverse as the communities that build them.

What are the benefits of farm to school?
Farm to school programs are based on the premise that students will choose healthier foods, including more fruits and vegetables, if products are fresh, locally grown, and picked at the peak of their flavor and if those choices are reinforced with educational activities. Farm to School programs provide benefits to the entire community: children, farmers, food service staff, parents, and teachers.

  • The choice of healthier options in the cafeteria through farm to school meals results in consumption of more fruits and vegetables with an average increase of 0.99 to 1.3 servings per day, including at home.
  • Schools report a 3 to 16 percent increase in school meal participation when farm-fresh food is served through farm to school programs.
  • Farm to school programs open new markets for farmers and help expand their customer base by raising awareness about local food systems.
  • Farm to school programs are also known to increase school meal participation rates.

How can I start a farm to school program in my community?
Farm to school programs exist in all 50 states, so support and resources are available no matter where you are. And you don’t have to be a cafeteria manager or school board member to get involved – parents, teachers and even students have the power to start programs and make change happen! For tips and resources to help you get started, visit the National Farm to School Network‘s website, and read the “How to Start a Program” page.

Weston A Price Foundation

Weston A Price FoundationThe Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated nonindustrialized peoples established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets. Dr. Price’s research demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats.

The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism. It supports a number of movements that contribute to this objective including accurate nutrition instruction, organic and biodynamic farming, pasture-feeding of livestock, community-supported farms, honest and informative labeling, prepared parenting and nurturing therapies. Specific goals include establishment of universal access to clean, certified raw milk and a ban on the use of soy formula for infants.

Our Health Topics section includes hundreds of articles on nutrition, diet, and health. The menu at left groups related articles into convenient categories, or you can use the search engine to quickly zero in on a topic of interest.

ABC’s of Nutrition: Fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and more.

Ask the Doctor: Holistic advice for treating various ailments

Beginner Videos: Sarah Pope, Florida Chapter Leader, offers basic video tutorials on a number of subjects.

Book ReviewsThumbs Up reviews of books that give sound nutritional advice, and Thumbs Down reviews of those that give dangerous or ineffective advice

Caustic Commentary: Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD, take on the Diet Dictocrats and politically correct nutrition

Children’s Health: How to raise happy, healthy children

Cod Liver Oil: Critical information on our number one superfood

Dentistry: Articles on holistic dentistry

DVD/Media ReviewsThumbs Up and Thumbs Down reviews of DVD and other media from Tim Boyd and others

Environmental Toxins: Pesticides, pollution, and industrial poisons

FAQ: Answers to frequently asked questions, arranged by topic area

Farm & Ranch: Stories of sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry

Food Features: Recipes for making healthy dishes

Health Issues: A catch all for health-related articles that just don’t fit anywhere else!

Homemade Baby Formula: Recipe for fresh baby formula if nursing is not a possibility

Homeopathy: Articles from great homeopaths such as Joette Calabrese

In His Footsteps: Modern people follow where Dr. Price once walked, and tell us stories of diets around the world

Know Your Fats: All about our critical need for natural fats and the dangers of modern manufactured fats

Making It Practical: Advice for finding affordable sources of natural foods, feeding picky children, and more

Men’s Health: Sound nutritional advice for the special needs of men

Mental/Emotional Health: Articles on maintaining mental/emotional stability

Modern Diseases: Our ancestors didn’t suffer from chronic degenerative diseases. Find out how you and your children can avoid them, too.

Modern Foods: The dangers of modern processing techniques, additives, flavorings, and colors

MSG Updates: Jack Samuels, founder of Truth In Labeling, updates you on the fight to force disclosure of free glutamic acid in foods

Myths and Truths: We dispel the myths of the Diet Dictocrats

Notes from Yesteryear: Excerpts from research by Weston A. Price and others

Nutrition Greats: Biographies of Dr. Price, Dr. Pottenger, and others in the Nutrition Hall of Fame

Obesity & Weight Loss: Sound advice and books on successfully losing weight

Soy Alert!: Everything you need to know about why you should avoid modern unfermented soy foods

Traditional Diets: Examinations of traditional diets from around the world

Women’s Health: Sound nutritional advice for the special needs of women

Lactose Intolerance and School Lunch Policy

Lactose IntoleranceLactose Intolerance and School Lunch Policy

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Nutrition published a statement in 2006 regarding lactose intolerance in infants, children and adolescents.  Please pay attention to this article since many schools only sell milk to students at lunch and do not offer any alternative beverages such as water or juice. The reason schools have implemented this milk-only policy is to receive a greater amount of federal money.  The more milk a particular school sells then the more money they receive in federal aid.  Basically this is a cozy relationship between the milk industry, the government and schools and may not be in the best interest of your child.

According to this AAP report, 70% of the world’s population has primary lactase deficiency. The percentage varies according to ethnicity and is related to the use of dairy products in the diet, resulting in genetic selection of individuals with the ability to digest lactose. In populations with a predominance of dairy foods in the diet, particularly northern European people, as few as 2% of the population has primary lactase deficiency. In contrast, the prevalence of primary lactase deficiency is 50% to 80% in southern Europeans and Hispanic people, 60% to 80% in black and Ashkenazi Jewish people, and almost 100% in Asian and American Indian people. The age of onset and its prevalence differ among various populations. Approximately 20% of Hispanic, Asian, and black children younger than 5 years of age have evidence of lactase deficiency and lactose malabsorption, whereas white children typically do not develop symptoms of lactose intolerance until after 4 or 5 years of age.

I am certain that the demographics of the student body at any school includes more than children of northern European descent.  This means that the great majority of students are lactose intolerant and are offered only milk to drink. Having such a school policy in effect may result in “significant discomfort, disrupted quality of life, and loss of school attendance, leisure and sports activities, and work time, all at a cost to individuals, families, and society” per the AAP statement.  Make sure your school does not have this disastrous policy in place.  There are plenty of dietary alternatives to obtain the needed calcium and without the lactose, namely almond milk and coconut milk.

Healthy School Lunches

Healthy School LunchHealthy School Lunches

Packing a Lunch:

1. Use the Nutrition Facts label to help choose healthy foods.  Select those lower in fat, sugar and sodium.
2. Limit cheese on sandwiches and choose low-fat or fat-free varieties.
3. Choose lean meats.
4. Include at least one serving of fruit.
5. Use vegetables creatively. Garnish sandwiches with spinach, sprouts, grated carrots and tomatoes. Cut peppers or cucumbers into bite-size pieces for dipping into low-fat dressing.
6. Make sandwiches with whole grain bread rather than white bread.
7. Limit snack foods and baked goods as they may be high in fats, sugars and salt.  Unbuttered popcorn and pretzels are healthy alternatives.
8. Choose 1% or fat-free milk.
9. Select 100% juice and not juice drinks.
10. Have the children help make their lunch so they learn proper food choices and they “buy-in.”

Buying a Lunch:

Use school lunches as a chance to steer your child toward good choices. You can’t force a child, but you can make it easier to eat healthy. Especially with younger kids, start by explaining how a nutritious lunch will give them the energy to finish the rest of the school day and enjoy after-school activities. Here are some other steps to take:

1. Look over the cafeteria menu with your child. Ask what a typical lunch includes and which meals he or she particularly likes.
2. Recommend items that are healthier, but be willing to allow your child to buy favorite lunch items occasionally, even if that includes a hot dog.

Tips For Growing Your Garden

Your Garden Growing TipsOur Growing Season Is Here. Perfect time to start planting.

Order online at Seeds of Change (http://www.seedsofchange.com/)  or buy at a nursery.  Remember to buy organic seeds.

Also buy the book “Gardening in Florida.”  It is a month by month breakdown of how to garden. We are just starting our growing season.  This book will tell you what is ready to grow now. Tomatoes, broccoli, fennel, watermelon, corn, peas, beans, peppers, eggplant, carrots. In a few months you can plant lettuce, kale, spinach.

While at the nursery – buy vermiculite, peat moss and compost – as your soil.  Equal parts of each.

Decide about location too.  Raised bed, pots, earth boxes, row garden.  I like earth boxes and raised beds. A simple way is to mix the soil, put back in the plastic bag, drop the bag where you want a garden, split the bag lengthwise and you have a plastic bag pot for gardening.

Remember, your first year is hit and miss.

Give each child a few seeds, some soil and get them started.  Once they see the plant bloom, they will be hooked.

Buy Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver for more info and a great read.