As efforts continue to expand the successful Farm to School Program, which works to connect food producers and school districts to provide fresh, local foods to students, a workshop Dec. 5 can provide farmers and school districts information on how to get started. 

Offered by Ohio State University Extension, the workshop is targeted toward educators, farmers, food producers, businesses and anyone else interested in beginning or expanding a Farm to School program or other related activities, said Rebecca Supinger, an Ohio State University Extension educator. 

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. 

One goal of the workshop is to connect farmers looking for school districts to provide with fresh local foods and school districts looking for farmers to source local foods for their school lunch programs, Supinger said. The workshop can also help producers and school districts expand their currently operating Farm to School programs, she said. 

“We want to bring awareness of the Farm to School program and how it works to more farmers, school districts and other organizations in the area,” she said. “We want to let everyone know how doable bringing the program to their organization is and how they can add agriculture to their curriculum. 

“Sometimes, a school may get overwhelmed at first at how to get started, so we want to make those connections and provide information on how other schools have started or expanded the program for their students.” 

Farm to School is a national program, which in Ohio is led by OSU Extension and is supported by numerous agencies, foundations and industry organizations. 

Ohio’s Farm to School Program has projects and partnerships in many of Ohio’s 88 counties. Leadership of the program transitioned from the Ohio Department of Agriculture to OSU Extension in 2011. The program works to ensure that students pre-K through college have increased access to locally produced nutritious food. 

Topics to be discussed during the workshop include: 

  • What’s happening with Farm to School.
  • Purchasing local foods.
  • Food safety.
  • Making connections with local producers.
  • The education connection. 

The workshop is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Wellness Center located on the Antioch College Campus at the corner of E. South College and Livermore Street, in Yellow Springs. Registration is $30 and includes admission, all materials, and lunch comprised of local foods. 

To register or for more information, go to www.regonline.com/greenefarmtoschool

More information about the Farm to School Program can be found at farmtoschool.osu.edu.