Next Steps: Creating a Sustainable Farm to School Program

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2012: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Principal Investigator:
Dana Smith
Fayetteville Public Schools


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: youth education
  • Farm Business Management: farm-to-institution
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, partnerships, community development

    Proposal abstract:

    Fayetteville Public Schools and the University of Arkansas are working in partnership to continue developing a successful Farm to School (F2S) program in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in coordination with Apple Seeds, Inc., Feed Fayetteville, and the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market. With support from a 2012 SARE grant, Fayetteville Public Schools was able to run a pilot F2S program in summer 2012 that included identifying and working with local producers, procuring over 2,000 lbs. of local meat and produce (over $2000) for a summer lunch program, providing educational programming, and community outreach including three news stories on the local NPR radio station. The pilot program helped identify next steps to implement a Farm to School program throughout the academic year. The continuation of the program will include expanding F2S procurement and menu incorporation of local products; identifying additional producers and providing post harvest handling and business training; providing a relevant educational program for elementary and middle school students; and identifying challenges and solutions for establishing a farm to school program in Northwest Arkansas. Community outreach will occur through press releases, newspaper articles, websites, social media outlets, and community events.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Expand F2S procurement during the academic year by: incorporating local produce on salad bars at two schools and hosting educational local lunches at all elementary and middle schools; identifying more potential growers; providing grower trainings to focus on desired products and business practices; providing training and resources to cafeteria staff district wide to prepare for future expansion of local purchasing (trainings and equipment) and processing.

    2. Provide a relevant educational program for all elementary and middle school students through educational lunches featuring local producers and guest appearances by local farmers as well as two farm field trips.

    3. Identify challenges and solutions associated with establishing a farm to school program in Northwest Arkansas.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.