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.
MFSN Structure & Support
What does it mean to be a member of the Maine Farm to School Network?
As a member of the Maine Farm to School Network, you will be kept up to date on statewide Farm to School initiatives through our monthly newsletter. (Join by signing up at the bottom of this page!) You are encouraged to share your farm to school initiatives among the network. You will be invited to join us and/or present at the biennial Maine Farm to School Conference, as well as join in on Strategic Planning events to guide the future of the Farm to School Movement. You will have the opportunity to offer input and to contribute to the work of the Maine Farm to School Network by joining one of our Subcommittees— apply to get more involved at any time!
How are we organized?
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.
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 Collaborations & Partnerships
Renee Page, Assistant Director at HCCA serves as the Core Partner to the National Farm to School Network, the Northeast Farm to School Collaborative, the Maine Farm to Institution Network, 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!). Stephanie Cesario serves as the MFSN Coordinator, focusing solely on supporting, organizing, and developing the network.