Farm to School is a nation-wide program that provides early childhood education to cultivate healthy eating habits by exposing children to healthy local foods, cooking lessons, taste tests, gardening, field trips, and more.
Farm to School is a key strategy for early childhood development for two reasons: Health and high-quality learning. Well-nourished children are able to function better in school during a critical stage in their development.
Gundersen Health System is an active member of the Farm to School program. Gundersen’s Certified Executive Chef Thomas Sacksteder supports the local program by visiting schools to educate students on healthy eating habits. The program also includes a “Harvest of the Month,” in which one local food is selected and promoted throughout the school system. Chef Thomas uses the “Harvest of the Month” in the recipes he showcases to students, and it is then served in the school cafeterias.
Grants received from the “Chefs Move to Schools” program have enabled Chef Thomas to continue to teach children about healthy food in a fun and appealing way. Watch Chef’s Farm to School education assembly at a local school.
How does the Farm to School program relate to sustainability? Food purchased from local farmers does not travel as far to reach point of sale, which in turn saves energy and reduces fossil fuel emissions. Buying local also supports the local economy.
Get involved! The Farm to School program exists in all states. If you or your organization is interested in helping children learn to eat healthy, check out the National Farm to School Network.
For more information on Gundersen’s sustainability programs, visit gundersenenvision.org.