Farm to School in Connecticut
Farm to school (FTS) programs across the State of Connecticut connect schools with fresh, local food producers. Using local procurement, school gardens, and education, these programs benefit both local producers and nutrition programs.
- Since 2006 CT has operated a farm to school program through the Departments of Education and Agriculture, including support for local purchasing and implementation of events such as Connecticut Grown for Connecticut Kids week. The Department of Agriculture also runs the CT Grown for CT Kids Grant which provides funding to support farm to school programming.
- UConn Extension's Put Local on Your Tray connects schools with local farms through programs including their Farm to School Directory
- The Connecticut Farm to School Collaborative connects state agencies, non-profits, and professional organizations to support FTS efforts across CT
Benefits of Farm to School
The National Farm to School Network found that farm to school programs benefit both students and their local communities. These include increases in school meal participation, access to fresh fruits and vegetables, dollars spent in the local economy, and overall academic achievement in K-12.
CT SFAs that completed the 2019 USDA Farm to School Census highlighted benefits of:
- Higher Quality Foods
- Student Knowledge About Local and Healthy Foods
- Increased Kitchen Staff Satisfaction
- Increased Food Cooked from Scratch
- Increased Consumption of Items in School Meals
- Reduced Food Waste
- Increased Participation in School Meals
2022-2023 SFA Report
The Zwick Center has worked with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Connecticut State Department of Education, the Connecticut Farm to School Collaborative, and Connecticut Food Corps to develop a baseline understanding of local food procurement practices in K-12 Schools in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Farm to School (FTS) Study consisted of two portions.
- A survey of the 173 CT School Food Authorities (SFA)
- Semi-structured interviews with 19 representative SFA directors
An overview of our results can be found here: Report Fact Sheet