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Who benefits from Farm to School? We all do!


Farm to school provides students with access to nutritious, high quality, local food so that they are healthy and ready to learn. Farm to school activities in the classroom enhance education through hands-on learning related to food, health, agriculture, and nutrition.


Farm to School programs increase community awareness about and interest in local foods and improve support among the community for healthier school meals. Farm to school strengthens connections within the state's food economy and increases economic activity in the community and state.


Farm to school can serve as a significant financial opportunity for farmers, fishers, ranchers, food processors and food manufacturers by opening doors to an institutional market worth billions of dollars.

Program Overview

Farm to School is a broad range of strategies and activities that connect communities with local food and local food producers by changing the food purchasing and education practices of schools and early care and education sites. While every farm to school program looks somewhat different, they generally include one of the three core elements of farm to school, which are procurement (includes the local purchase and use of local food in cafeterias or snacks), education (aims at getting students involved in educational activities related to agriculture, food, health, or nutrition), and school gardens (focuses on getting students engaged in hands-on learning through gardening).

Farm to school programs increase student access to healthy, locally grown products, link schools and farmers, and increase student awareness of the importance of agricultural activities through active learning opportunities such as farm visits, cooking demonstrations, food tastings, school gardens, and integrate nutrition and agricultural education into the school curriculum.

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 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.

Farm to School in Louisiana

In 2016, Governor John Bel Edwards signed Act 404, requiring the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education 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. The Louisiana Farm to School Program will support the continued growth of Louisiana’s farm to school movement. According to the 2015 U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Census, 33% of Louisiana school districts are participating in farm to school programming, impacting roughly 288,083 students. Already, $10,951,500 has been invested into local economies through farm to school activities.

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. Services provided under this inter-agency agreement will enable the State to fulfill obligations detailed in Louisiana Revised Statute 17:195.1, which requires the implementation of a Louisiana Farm to School Program, and will be funded with 100 percent restricted federal Child Nutrition Program state administrative funds. This partnership focuses on the development of a statewide Farm to School Program implemented through trainings, seminars, an annual Farm to School Conference, and the development of a Farm to School Handbook. Training, technical assistance, and monitoring are incorporated, in accordance to federal requirements, to ensure successful implementation of the federal Child Nutrition Programs in providing services to children across the state.

Crystal Besse
Louisiana Farm to School Program Director

Louisiana Farm to School Program
Louisiana State University AgCenter
231 Julian C. Miller Hall
Baton Rouge LA 70803

Program Objectives

  • Train Producers with MarketReady This training will provide producers with marketing strategies for various retail and wholesale outlets and good business practices that are necessary in today’s business climate, including benefits of using the MarketMaker platform. Growers will increase their understanding of farm to school regulations and required practices through resources and support provided by the training. Our goal is to improve linkages between agricultural producers and institutions/schools lunch programs while managing liability and food safety issues and costs with farm to school programs.
  • Develop Farm to School Handbook, a resource guide for practitioners of FTS with a focus on the three program areas: gardening, education, and food procurement.The Handbook will include reference materials and guidelines for purchasing local products for inclusion into school cafeterias and implementation of programs such as Harvest of the Month, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), food safety guidelines, and training materials.
  • Train School Nutrition Personnel for FTS implementation and procurement. This will include recommended practices in purchasing local products, promotion, guidelines for school gardens, and the MarketMaker platform.
  • Support Local Farm to School Programs by providing various FTS resources and best practices to assist teachers and school districts with farm to school programming in the three aspects of FTS: school gardening, educational curriculum, and food procurement.
  • Coordinate Annual Farm to School Conference, gathering FTS stakeholders across the state to provide a venue for learning, information exchange, and networking.
  • Program Access & Communication to ensure all stakeholders have access to trainings, guidance materials, technical assistance, and other pertinent information.


In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  1. Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  2. Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
  3. Email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture