Towards a community-based school food system

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2003: $76,388.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Northeast
State: New Hampshire
Project Leader:
Tom Kelly
UNH Office of Sustainability

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: apples, general tree fruits


  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, display, farmer to farmer, workshop
  • Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis, new business opportunities, partnerships, social networks, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    The mission of the NH Farm to Schools Program is to create a sustainable and expandable business and educational program that connects NH farms and farm products to NH classrooms and cafeterias. The objective is to replace the currently fragmented and disconnected food system with one that integrates local agricultural production, school food procurement and curriculum into a coherent whole. If successful, a community-based, community-supported school food system will emerge. Research based and action oriented, the NH Farm to School program combines economics and education, is simultaneously bottom-up (farmers, local school districts) and top-down (NH Department of Education) and involves multiple stakeholders in determining and making needed changes in current food and educational systems to the benefit of kids and farmers alike. Program activities include: the creation of a Program Leadership Team (PLT) of key stakeholders supported by a Program Manager and graduate assistant; a detailed assessment of opportunities and barriers for NH produced foods and cross-disciplinary civic agriculture curriculum integration into NH K-12 public schools; farm to school program demonstrations providing NH apples to NH school children; the development of a teacher workshop to create and integrate farm to school curriculum; a Farm-to-School web site; the creation of non-formal education/marketing materials; a report on findings and recommendations for expansion to other farm products; evaluation.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    In school districts representing 30% of NH’s school children will make a farm to school cafeteria/curriculum apple connection creating a new market opportunity for at least two of NH’s 6 primarily wholesale orchards and at least three retail orchards, thereby contributing to agriculture that is diversified and profitable and that has a positive influence on communities. The target volume is 2,500 cases (one case =30 lbs) of apples per year, conservatively estimated at $30,000.

    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.