WFFC Logo, Lane Food, Lane County, Oregon

Willamette Farm & Food Coalition

Farm to School Program

The Willamette Farm and Food Coalition is actively educating Lane County kids about where their food comes from, providing their families with resources to access fresh, locally grown foods, and working to incorporate locally grown produce into the meals served in our schools.



THE GOALS OF WFFC’S FARM TO SCHOOL PROGRAM

  • Increase students’ knowledge of where their food comes from, how it is grown, and the benefits of eating locally;
  • Improve students’ and their families’ nutrition by increasing their exposure and access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, giving priority to those with the greatest need;
  • Develop new markets for local farms and connect students to the source of their food by incorporating more locally grown foods into meals served in schools; and
  • Support policies at the school district, local, state and national levels that increase opportunities for farm to school programs.

EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES

We provide a comprehensive educational program to second through fifth grade students in the Bethel, Eugene 4J, and Springfield School Districts. We work with the schools in the Eugene/Springfield area which have the highest percentage of students in poverty. Many of the students we serve don’t have access to adequate food at home and don’t have exposure to farms or gardens. Students participate in the following activities:

  • an introductory lesson about where our food comes from
  • farm field trips
  • a harvest meal
  • school garden sessions
  • nutrition lessons
  • tasting tables

Farm Field Trips
Students visit local farms and have the opportunity to taste fresh produce in the field, help with a farm task, and harvest produce to bring back to school.

Harvest day Harvest day

Harvest Meal
Students prepare a snack or meal together with food they harvested on their farm field trip.

Harvest day

Harvest day

Harvest day Harvest day

Garden Sessions
Students help to plant, tend and harvest vegetables. These activities are implemented in collaboration with The School Garden Project of Lane County.

In the garden

Nutrition Lessons
Lessons focus on the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. These activities were developed in collaboration with staff from Oregon State University’s Nutrition Education program.

Tasting Tables
During lunch time in the cafeteria students visit our special Tasting Table offering fresh locally grown vegetables from the farm they visited.

Tasting Tables Tasting Tables
FARM TO SCHOOL PROGRAM IN ACTION

In this video, students from River Road/El Camino del Rio visit the Small Farmers Project and Thistledown Farm: 

Local songwriter, John Pitney, has created a great song for WFFC’s Farm to School Program, sharing experiences of students who have participated over the years. The song was sung by fifth graders at River Road/El Camino del Rio Elementary School in Eugene. Listen and follow along with the lyrics!

FAMILY ACTIVITIES
Through our new Family Outreach Program we are increasing low-income families exposure and access to fresh, locally grown foods by offering field trips, supplemental food and resources. Families participate in the following activities:

  • Family Night events, during which families sample fresh locally-grown fruits and vegetables and receive produce to take home. We provide coupons for use at nearby farmers markets or farm stands and flyers educating families about the opportunity to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at these sites;
  • Farm field trips to a local farm and/or farmers market, during which families meet farmers, enjoy a snack together, and receive coupons for use at the market or farm stand. Farms and farmers markets are in close proximity to the schools, so that families can return on their own; and
  • Families receive Oregon Department of Education’s Oregon Harvest for Schools Family Newsletters, which encourage consumption of Oregon-grown fruits and vegetables at home.
Family Farm Trip

LOCAL FOOD IN SCHOOL LUNCHES
We work closely with school districts in Lane County to increase the amount of locally grown and processed food served in school meals and snacks. 

Local food in schools!
  • Lane County grown produce purchased by Lane County Schools totaled 72,686 pounds in 2012. (This is an increase of 27% over 2011 and an increase of 268 % over 2009.)
  • Locally-processed products purchased by K-12 schools increased from $27,910 in 2009 to $45,734 in 2012.
  • The total value of all Lane County grown and processed products purchased by Lane County schools in 2012 was $314,014. 
  • 32% percent of Bethel School District’s food purchases in 2012 came from Lane County farms, dairies or food processors.  The district spent a total of $179,200 on Lane County products in 2012.  
  • Eugene 4J school district has continued to increase its purchasing of locally grown fruits and vegetables from 1,340 pounds in 2009 to 28,533 pounds in 2012. 
To read a full report click here

 

Information for Farmers:

There is an opportunity to get the food that you grow into the mouths of school children in Lane County! It’s not easy or hugely profitable, but it can be a new market for your crops and help connect kids with the source of their food.

Here is document to help you get started, if you are interested. Click here.

STATE-WIDE WORK AND RECOGNITION

Willamette Farm and Food Coalition serves as Oregon State Lead for the National Farm to School Network (NFSN), serving as a liaison to the NFSN and providing technical assistance and support to farm to school and school garden programs throughout Oregon. We serve in a leadership role with the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network providing networking and information sharing opportunities for programs throughout the state. Our Program Director, Megan Kemple, was selected to be a U.S. delegate to Slow Food International’s Terra Madre in Turin, Italy in October 2012, an honor for food movement leaders.  

COMMUNITY SUPPORTERS

The Willamette Farm and Food Coalition’s Farm to School Program would like to thank the following local businesses and organizations for their generous support:

A Healing Space
Coastal Farm and Ranch
Communities and Schools Together
Cozmic Pizza
Eugene Active 20-30 Club
Eugene Water and Electric Board
Emerald Fruit and Produce
Evergreeen Nutrition
Lane County Farmers Market
Laughing Planet
Lochmead Dairy

Marché
Northwest Community Credit Union
Organically Grown Company
Pacific Continental Bank
PacificSource Health Plans
SELCO Community Credit Union
Slow Food Eugene
Sperry Tree Care
Springfield Creamery
United Methodist Women

Farm to School ApplesThe Kiva, Friendly Street Market, Sundance, Capella, Red Barn, New Frontier and Eugene Local Foods all made generous donations to WFFC’s Farm to School Program this year, with profits from sales of Farm to School Fuji apples. We appreciate their support and the support of those of you who supported the program by purchasing apples!

AmeriCorps

The Farm to School Program is an AmeriCorps program.

GET INVOLVED!

If you are interested in learning more about the Farm to School Program or getting involved as a volunteer - please contact Molly Bullock, Education and Family Outreach Coordinator, at 541-246-1610.

MAKE A CONTRIBUTION!

Become a donating member of the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition.

Contribute online through PayPal by clicking below (please indicate Farm to School Program)


Or mail your contributions to:
Willamette Farm and Food Coalition
P.O. Box 41672
Eugene, OR 97404-0389

Please make checks payable to WFFC and put "Farm to School Program" on the memo line.

WFFC is a 501c(3) organization and we will send you a receipt for tax purposes.

FARM TO SCHOOL RESOURCE LINKS:

National Farm to School Network
Oregon Department of Education Farm to School and School Gardens
School Garden Project of Lane County