Farm to School Evaluations and Case Studies

Farm to school is about much more than serving fresher foods in cafeterias.  Farm to school programs can build communities committed to improving the health of their children, create access to nutritious food where there little access, and can improve local economies by keeping food sales local. 

The success of these programs requires successful collaborations and sometimes restructuring of existing contracts.  Farm to school programs need collaboration amongst school boards, kitchen staff, farmers, distributors, teachers, and parents.  

UC SAREP is committed to the success and continued growth of farm to school programs.  A series of SAREP publications evaluate existing programs in California, and provide insight to start-up programs to help navigate the farm to school landscape.

Farm to School Evaluations and case studies

The Yolo County Farm to School Project is a three-year pilot to provide California county agricultural commissioners and school food service directors with a set of tools to deliver a "California Grown" School Lunch reflecting the specialty crops of the region. UC SAREP provided evaluations of the project, including of the cooking classes for each of the school districts, of procurement trends from regional specialty crop growers in each district, and of farmer trainings

In 2014, the Orchard Hill Foundation granted $60,000 to Yolo Farm to Fork so they could provide mini grants, technical assistance and outreach to support six school gardens in Yolo County, and helped connect students’ garden learning experiences with classroom instruction. UC SAREP worked with the Futures Garden Coordinator to design evaluation strategies to measure program outcomes.  In this report, we summarize garden activities reported at each school. We also summarize and analyze pre/post data about changes in student preferences and taste testing of garden produce.

School Food Focus (FOCUS) is a national collaborative that leverages the knowledge and procurement power of large school districts to make school meals nationwide more healthful, regionally sources, and sustainably produces.  This report created by SAREP analyzes the food supply and demand changes in food procurement practices, and documents the results and lessons learned from a case study in the Saint Paul, Minnesota school district.