WHAT IS FARM TO SCHOOL?
Farm to school is a three-pronged approach that incorporates agricultural-based education, hands-on learning through school gardens, and increased access to fresh, local foods through local procurement by school meal programs. Farm to school strategies are shown to improve fruit and vegetable consumption, increase knowledge about food origins, improve academic achievement, and support the local economy.
Maine Farm to School Strategic Priorities
In 2017 MFSN underwent a strategic planning process and identified the following priorities to guide the Network’s work over the next 3-5 years:
Network Development: focus on network structure, leadership, and expectations.
Fundraising: secure funding to support Network functions and strategic priorities.
Communications & Outreach: create MFSN website, increase social media and other communications.
Harvest of the Month: create and launch a Maine Harvest of the Month program.
Annual Conference: continue to offer annual Maine Farm to School Conference or collaborate on Maine Farm to Institution conference.
MFSN Structure & Support
The MFSN is a collaboration among farm to school practitioners, advocates, and supporters. The Network is guided by a Leadership Council of farm to school stakeholders who meet monthly and participate on one or more subcommittees that support the strategic priorities. Healthy Communities of the Capital Area (HCCA) is the fiscal and staffing home for MFSN. MFSN is supported by the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, the National Farm to School Network, and through numerous sponsors of MFSN conferences and events.
MFSN Collaborations & Partnerships
Renee Page, Assistant Director at HCCA serves as the MFSN Coordinator and as the Core Partner to the National Farm to School Network. MFSN is also part of the Northeast Farm to School Collaborative, Maine Farm to Institution, and Farm to Institution New England. In addition to the Core Partner role, MFSN also has four Supporting Partners to NFSN (Leigh Hallett, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry; Viña Lindley, UMaine Cooperative Extension; Stephanie Stambach, Maine Department of Education; Emily Walters, Let’s Go!).