From Farm to School: Farms Deliver
Do you know how many dairy farms are in the United States? How many are in your state or region? Every state has farms and farmland, and the farmers who work that land provide nutritious low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, as well as fruits, vegetables and whole grains that keep students healthy and strong. And did you know America's dairy farmers launched Fuel Up to Play 60 with the NFL and with support from USDA to help make healthy changes in your school?
How Does It Work?
Work with students to learn about the farms and farmers in your area or region. Help students learn more about healthy eating and the nutrients that fresh foods provide by organizing awareness events highlighting where these foods come from, why they are healthy choices and how the farming industry helps take care of the land.
The following steps are suggestions of how to complete the Play — but they can be done in any order or combination and can be altered to fit your needs. If you find ways to adapt this Play to fit your school, share it with us through the Tips section!
Meet with school nutritional professionals and the principal to get approval for your idea and to gain their support. Work with your school team to do some planning.
Host an assembly and invite a dairy farmer to talk about the work they do to produce nutrient-rich foods your students are learning to choose. Share with them the work you are doing through Fuel Up to Play 60. Include your school nutrition professionals to talk with students about the nutritious benefits of the farmed foods. Consider visiting a farm to learn about how farms support efforts to promote healthy eating in your community.
To invite a farmer to your school event, go to the Dairy Council Directory on the National Dairy Council website. Locate the phone number for your state or regional Dairy Council and contact the Dairy Promotion Office.
Prior to the assembly, ask a parent or group of volunteers to visit local farms and take pictures to create a photo frame slideshow that can be shown in the cafeteria service line. Include pictures of fresh dairy foods and seasonal fruits and vegetables, along with photos of the farm and people working to produce food.
During your awareness assembly, host a "Farm to School” snack table to offer taste tests of the various foods produced by farmers, including fresh dairy foods such as low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt, and seasonal fruits and vegetables that might be unfamiliar to students. As students sample each food, talk about the nutrients they are providing their bodies and how farmers work to provide those health benefits.
Spread the Word
Have students create "Farms Deliver" posters and/or videos highlighting the role that farmers play in helping your school and community stay healthy. Have students include special messages highlighting the new foods they have discovered through the taste tests and farmer visits. Have them share the posters with their families, media, local restaurants and on the school or district website to encourage consumption of those foods at home.
Consider sending the posters or videos to dairy farmers in your state or region and include “thank you” messages about providing funding for Fuel Up to Play 60, for providing healthy foods and for their commitment to environmental stewardship. Use the From Our Teammates resources below to help students find information they can use.
Get Others Involved
Everyone can help:
- Volunteer to run the "Farm to School” snack table and hold taste tests
- Identify local farmers who can talk about their work and invite them to visit the school, or work with them to create the photo frame slide show collection
- Create posters and videos to share with farmers who visit the school or who you meet on farm visits
- Choose seasonal fruits and vegetables and fresh dairy foods
- Inform families about the active role that dairy farmers are taking in supporting Fuel Up to Play 60
- Promote the activities and inform parents and caregivers about the benefits of serving fresh dairy foods, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and whole grain foods at home