Arkansas Grown Arkansas Farm to School

Arkansas Farm to School Month

Arkansas Farm to School Month

Every year in October we celebrate Arkansas Farm to School Month across the state. This recognition is part of nationwide efforts to connect schools, early childhood education sites, and other organizations with farms to bring local, healthy food to children.

The National Farm to School Network first started this trend in 2010 by having National Farm to School Month designated by Congress. Since then, more and more states have joined in with celebrations. 

Arkansas has been formally recognizing Arkansas Farm to School Month since 2014 when then-governor Mike Beebe first proclaimed October as Arkansas Farm to School Month. Governor Asa Hutchinson has continued the tradition every year since.

This year, Arkansas Farm to School Month is themed “Connecting Schools, Farms, and the Community to Local Food,” and there are many ways to get involved! Don’t forget to share with us what activities you have planned. 
 

To help schools, farms, and individuals spread the news, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture created a media and promotion toolkit that included resources, graphics, language, and examples to promote Arkansas Farm to School activities.

2021 – Connecting Schools, Farms, and the Community to Local Food

1. Website Promotion

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the launch of a new multi-platform website that partners Arkansas Farm to School, arfarmtoschool.org, with Arkansas Grown, arkansasgrown.org. It is the first website of its kind that connects farm to school to a state’s local food branding programs. 
 
The connected website offers many features, including interactive maps of school gardens, local procurement activities, farms, and producers across the state. 
 
Schools that add or update their school garden and local procurement information on the website will receive a FREE Arkansas Farm to School plaque that can be displayed in the school garden or cafeteria.
 
Also farmers who have sold, or are interested in selling, to schools can add the “Local Procurement” category to their Arkansas Grown listing and receive a FREE plaque as well. 

2. Great Farm to School Transformation

Join other schools across the state in participating in this year’s Great Farm to School Transformation! 

All schools who submit before and after photos will receive an Arkansas Farm to School Month 2021 certificate and be featured on the Arkansas Farm to School Facebook page. Six schools will be randomly selected to receive a 30 minute farm to school consultation with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Team in November. 

The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2021.

3. Virtual Farm Tour 

Have you ever wondered where your ice-cold milk came from? Or how long it takes for milk to travel from farm to table? Your classroom is invited to join us for a FREE live Virtual Farm Tour of Triple A Farms in Bentonville, Arkansas on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, 9:00-9:45 a.m. CST. The link to view the live stream will be included in your confirmation and reminder emails. 

This tour is brought to you by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, the Arkansas Farm to School Collaborative, Midwest Dairy, and Discover Dairy.

4. Farm to School Grants and Funding

October is a great time of the year to apply for grant funding to grow your farm to school activities in the school garden, classroom, or cafeteria. 

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture will open applications to their Arkansas School Garden Grant Program and to a new funding opportunity, the Arkansas Taste Test Grant Program. 
 
The applications will open at the end of October and will close on November 30, 2021.

2020 Events

In 2020, we celebrated local! From the farmers who grow our food, to the educators and parents who teach children about gardening, cooking, and nutrition, we together, created a strong local food system. #ARF2SMonth #CelebrateLocal

To Celebrate Local, we ate local, grew local, and learned about local food. 

Another way we Celebrated Local was by joining the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and Heifer USA’s virtual farm field trip.

2019 Events

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In 2019, we hosted the Arkansas Farm to School Celebration at the Capitol. Partners, teachers, legislators, and students attended the event. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson proclaimed October as Arkansas Farm to School Month, the Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest winners were recognized, and a roundtable of booths and information concluded the event. 

Also, farm to school champions Ally Mrachek, Child Nutrition Director at Fayetteville Public Schools, and Maegan Brown, Child Nutrition Manager at Conway Public Schools, visited Senator Cotton in Washington D.C. to share about the importance of farm to school. Similarly Destiny Schlinker, Arkansas Program Associate Director at FoodCorps, met with Senator Boozman to talk about the Kids Eat Local Act. 

2018 Events

In 2018, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson proclaimed October as Arkansas Farm to School Month. During the official ceremony, the Governor also took time to honor and celebrate the 2018 Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest winners.