Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
 Farm to School in New York

Food Service Directors

Over 40% of school districts in New York State have embraced Farm to School and the numbers are growing!¹

Benefits of having a Farm to School program include:

  • Prepares children to learn: Diet quality and nutritional status are associated with a child’s ability to focus and learn. By providing fresh, nutritious and delicious schools meals, a student’s academic performance may be enhanced.
  • Improves health and well-being: Establishing healthy diets in childhood – those rich in a diversity of fruits and vegetables – is important for life-long well-being. Farm to School, with its focus on a well-balanced diet including fresh, minimally processed fruits and vegetables, offers schools an exciting way to positively impact children’s health and well-being throughout their lives.
  • Strengthens the local economy: By supporting local farmers and distributors, schools help keep and re-circulate dollars in the local economy. Also, any purchase of New York State product contributes to the NYS tax base, which in turn, funds NYS public schools.
  • Builds healthy communities: By connecting health concerns, education and local farmers and processors, NYS Farm to School can help to:
    • Address diet-related problems among our youth
    • Develop an appreciation for the importance of agriculture
    • Preserve open-space and the natural environment
    • Promote strong community food security networks
These resources below can help you get Farm to School started at your school.

The Department has created two helpful toolkits and these can be downloaded in the Resources section:

  • Getting Local Food into New York State Schools
  • New York State Harvest of the Month Educator’s Toolkit

Additional resources are below:



Click on the blue markers to read regional stories on the impact of Farm to School across the state:

In addition, you will have many considerations when starting a Farm to School program and some of these include:

  • Creating bid language favorable to sourcing from local producers
  • Planning your menus to match with when products are in season
  • Preparing taste tests for students to gauge what they like
  • Speaking with your supplier to see what local product they can get
  • Reviewing pricing for locally-grown products and budgeting for this
  • Coordinating with educators on promoting the new foods used in menus
  • Finding local farmers to work with

Please look to our Resources page to access information about procurement, where to find farmers, Harvest of the Month toolkits and posters, educating children about Farm to School and more!

¹ Based on USDA Farm to School Census Estimations.