Farm to School Youth Leadership Curriculum
The high school level Farm to School Youth Leadership Curriculum is designed to empower youth, teach them about their local food system, engage them in meaningful, hands-on learning activities that also strengthen their school’s Farm to School program and link them directly with farmers in their community. Implementation of the curriculum in a high school setting simultaneously gives students ownership and commitment to their school’s Farm to School program, while reducing the amount of legwork and research required of teachers or food service staff to establish or expand a farm to school program.
The curriculum is comprised of 6 Lessons, each containing a lesson summary, a list of lesson activities, lesson outcomes, facilitator preparation notes, a materials and equipment list, additional resources, detailed facilitator descriptions of core activities, additional recommended activities, a chart of the lesson’s alignment to national and Minnesota academic standards and worksheets and handouts for students. The lessons can be taught consecutively over a semester or facilitators can choose to use single lessons or activities as they complement their classes. Activities are interdisciplinary, and may fit into classes focused on Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, Social Studies, Economics, Health, Science or other subjects. The curriculum was developed with the 11th and 12th grade high school classroom setting in mind, but could also be used by educators teaching about Farm to School or local foods systems in other settings. Occasional connections with external farmers or food service professionals deeply enrich the lessons; when these connections are recommended, this is indicated in the introductory notes to give the facilitator time to prepare.
Farm to School programs link children to nearby small and mid-size farms and ranches that produce fresh, healthy and minimally processed foods that are served at their schools. Aimed at educating children about where and how their food is grown, strengthening local economies and supporting healthy eating habits, the Farm to School movement is rapidly growing.
Farm to School advances the following goals:
- Promote children’s health by providing fresh, healthy and minimally processed foods in schools and supporting the development of healthy eating habits
- Enhance children’s “food literacy” by familiarizing them with foods grown nearby, teaching them how and where their food is grown, building knowledge about how to prepare healthy foods, and educating them about the health, nutrition, social and environmental impacts of food choices
- Strengthen local economies by expanding markets for small and mid-size agricultural producers and food entrepreneurs whose products have typically been unavailable in school meal programs
- Build vibrant locally oriented food systems by fostering positive relationships and increase understanding of local food systems among children, farmers, parents, educators and school districts, healthcare professionals, and other community members
- Advance environmental stewardship, where practicable, by supporting more sustainable food production methods, reducing reliance on long distance transportation, and reducing food waste
We hope that this curriculum will be useful in engaging students to start or expand a Farm to School program, and we welcome feedback and stories of how it works for you!