Farm to School in Pierce County
The Farm to School program was created to bring high quality local food to Pierce County’s K-12 schools and universities. Although still in its early days, the program represents a win-win scenario for the watershed. Local farmers benefit from new opportunities to sell their produce. At the same time, students, faculty and staff gain steady access to fresh, healthy local food products.
The Farm to School program is comprised of a collaborative group of public agencies and private citizens throughout the Puyallup Watershed. Participants include the Washington State Department of Agriculture, King-Pierce Farm Bureau, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, Washington State University Pierce County, local PTA members, and certified nutritionists.
Their shared goal is to boost the visibility and long-term viability of agriculture in Pierce County. They also aim to strengthen community health by conducting educational workshops about nutritious local food offerings and increasing participation rates in school meal programs.
There are currently 272 public schools in Pierce County, Washington, serving almost 130,000 students. Based on initial success in other parts of Washington, a Farm to School program in Pierce County can do tremendous good. The model is versatile and can benefit other organizations that have foodservice capabilities. We envision adapting the program to meet the fresh food needs of local hospitals, nursing homes, businesses, correctional facilities and other institutions.
The Farm to School program promises to raise the profile of Pierce County’s food products, promote good nutrition, and boost the watershed’s agricultural economy. If you would like to learn more or, better yet, support the program in your school district, please contact Daniel Muir.
Benefits of Farm to School
- Educate the public about local farming and food systems
- Increase local produce offerings in school meals and salad bars
- Improve student nutrition by creating excitement and education
around unfamiliar or locally grown produce
- Build community relationships and increase participation rates for
school meal programs
- Increase market opportunities for local farms
- Support local farmers and the local economy