Once you have assembled a team, establishing a vision and clear goals for your Farm to School efforts will help ensure success. Here are a few key ideas to keep in mind:
1) Establish a Vision.
a) What will your Farm to School activities encompass?
b)What is the ideal future state you would like to see for your program?
c) Will your efforts go beyond purchasing local food items?
d) Will your efforts include agriculture and nutrition education, taste-tests, local harvest events, field trips to nearby farms, etc.?
2) Set Achievable Goals.
a) Using your vision, decide on first steps that will help you get there. Your goals will change each year, while your vision should remain constant.
b) Goals in the cafeteria could focus on number and frequency local food items are served.
c) Goals in the classroom may be geared toward physical activity, agriculture, or
d) Goals in the community could include farmers, parents, community organizations, colleges or universities, or nonprofit organizations coming together around your vision.
3) Start Small.
a) It is important not to feel overwhelmed with all that you would like to accomplish. Starting small increases your chances of success and gives you a foundation to build on.
b) Choose one or two local food items that you can easily incorporate into your existing
recipes or menu.
c) If you have a larger school district, consider testing the local food item(s) at a few
school sites rather than the entire district.
d) Begin with school sites that are willing to make the shift to incorporating local food
items and grow from there.
4) Develop a Back-Up Plan.
a) If the local food items you intend to purchase are unavailable for some reason, be prepared with a back-up plan from another source.
5) Evaluate Your Program.
a) Based on your goals, evaluate your progress on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. You can’t improve what you don’t measure!