For working with youth

With the delivery of research-based, high-quality, youth-focused curricula centered on local foods, educators in schools and early learning sites are supporting health and wellness of youth and communities. Culturally relevant food education can be incorporated into a multitude of learning environments- classrooms, school cafeterias, on-site gardens, early learning centers- to grow awareness of and opportunities for youth to have positive experiences with local food.

As local foods programming offers hands-on, exploratory education, it supports youth to develop lifelong confidence and care for these issues and more:

  • Gardening and food production
  • Culinary arts
  • Nutrition and physical fitness
  • Food science, biology, chemistry, environmental science, etc.
  • Environmental health and stewardship
  • Personal well-being and health behavior maintenance
  • Social justice and equity


Best management practices

NFSN Engaging Youth Through Farm to School webinar highlights best practices of engaging and empowering youth with local foods.

Examples of farm-to-school chapters in Iowa:

Examples of community organizations utilizing local foods in Iowa:

Look up how much your school district is spending on local foods using USDA’s 2015 Farm to School Census Explorer Tool.

Take a look at our fact sheet, Getting Started with Local Foods at Schools.

State and national organizations

FoodCorps supports community-based learning through interdisciplinary approaches to local food systems change that honors local realities, cultures, and values by fostering connections between people, institutions, infrastructure, natural environment, economics and policy. More information on the FoodCorps Iowa service team.

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website. The website provides basic resources needed to start a farm-to-school chapter in Iowa (Chapter Application Packet”), directories, and different initiatives.

Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Network collaboratively works to increase access to locally-grown food and food education for children and families by building cross-sector partnerships to advance programs and policies in schools, early care settings, and the food system.

Iowa Local Food Day. Annual celebration of farm to school and early care where at least two local foods are served to students across the state.

The National Farm to School Network website contains information about the federal program, federal policies supporting the program, information about different chapters, and all types of resources for farm-to-school chapters. The FFED team serves as state lead for the National Farm to School Network’s work in Iowa.

Useful Contacts

Chelsea Krist

wiemerslage spotlight featureTeresa Wiemerslage

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