According to Marion Kalb, director of the National Farm to School
Network, about 400 school districts participate in farm-to-school
Although 23 states have programs, the most successful are in
California, Florida, Alabama and Georgia because of their agricultural
is easier to start programs in rural areas because there is an
understanding about farmers and farm culture," Kalb said.
Joshi said the reason the programs are successful in rural areas
is also the reason they are rarer in the city. "Urban school
districts tend to be further away from farms, so transportation
and distribution of farm fresh product pose a hurdle."
Frank Kelly of the Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin
tried a farm-to-school program, but decided not to make a permanent
change to the school lunches.
"The educational component of the program worked very well,"
Kelly said, but it was hard to get the food to the cafeteria.
"Because the growing cycle and school cycles are in conflict,"
local farmers aren't able to provide enough food year round, Kelly
challenge, said farmer Mike Tabor, who runs Licking Creek Bend
Farm in Needmore, Pa., "is getting schools to raise enough
money to compete with agribusiness," who can offer food at
a lower price.
Many in the movement, including Tabor, believe that existing
laws should be funded to subsidize farm-to-school programs to
make them more widespread.
The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 allows
federal money to be given to schools that participate in farm-to-school
programs, however, no money has been set aside in recent budgets
to make this a functioning program.
By Bryan Hayes, NewsHour Extra