Summer 2018

Not Too Cool for Farm to School

Farmers see value in helping their communities.

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Photo: Steven Vote

Farm-to-school programs help schools purchase fruits and vegetables directly from local farmers. But farmers don’t do it just for the money. In a survey, most said their top motivation was helping their communities.

Megan Lehnerd, NG18, a Newman’s Own Foundation fellow at the Friedman School, surveyed 155 fruit-and-vegetable farmers about their views on farm-to-school programs as well as farmers’ market nutrition-incentive programs, which give discounts to low-income families to buy local produce. Three-quarters of the farmers said their main reasons for taking part were related to social improvements, such as helping feed people, building community relationships, teaching kids how food grows, and boosting nutrition.

That said, economics is still important: Most farmers surveyed said the programs did add to their bottom line.

The research was published in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.

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