Getting Started for Community Members

Are you interested in helping your school or facility start a farm to school program, or source locally grown foods? Massachusetts Farm to School will help you get started.

We have the resources and statistics to help you show school administrators, food service directors, and interested parents or citizens how buying locally grown foods can be a community, economic, and nutritional benefit.

Community Advocates

Learn more about how school lunch works, and feel free to contact us if you need help:
  • Find out what others think about school meals, including school administrators, teachers, nurses, students, and food service staff
  • Learn about the challenges and opportunities of operating a school lunch program
  • Learn more about the USDA School Lunch Program and how local purchasing can be incorporated into a tight food service budget
  • Find out if your district has an active School Wellness policy or committee

Guide to the USDA School Lunch Program
Download this guide 

Identify your specific goals

  • Are you most concerned about nutrition or taste?
  • Are you interested in ensuring universal access to healthy locally grown fruits and vegetables?
  • Is your primary goal supporting local farms?
  • Are you focused on the importance of fresh, local products in food budgets, cooking, and diet?

If you have a clearly articulated sense of why you are moved to create a change in your school district, you’ll find it much easier to generate support from others.

Talk with key individuals in the school system

  • First and foremost, be in touch with the food service director
    It is s/he who is responsible for all of the menuing and purchasing in the district. Public school food services work under strict guidelines, and have less flexibility and funding than you may think.
  • Review your specific goals with your School Nutrition Department
    Are they attainable? Why or why not? Listen carefully and take notes. Oftentimes the food service director is very willing to include local foods, and is happy to hear that an organization like the Massachusetts Farm to School Project is available to help facilitate the process.
  • Consider contacting the Principal and/or Superintendent if you are unsuccessful with the food service director
    You may decide to organize a group of parents, teachers, students, and other community members who are interested in the issue, and attend a PTO/PTA meeting, Wellness Committee meeting, School Committee/School Board meeting, or the like to raise awareness.

Still have questions?

Contact the Farm to Cafeteria team to discuss the best next steps.

In Western or Central Massachusetts
Lisa Damon

In Eastern Massachusetts
Simca Horwitz