Farm to School

The School Meals — Farm to School Connection

Strong farm to school programs, and increased local food purchasing power, require strong breakfast, lunch, afterschool, and summer meal programs, with most students and staff eating at school. 


  • When every eligible student is enrolled in their free school meal program, and more students are eating breakfast and lunch, all students have access to the healthy, fresh, local food that farm to school makes available in the cafeteria and classroom. Plus, school meal program finances improve—giving schools more resources to purchase and process local foods.

  • When eligible schools use the summer and afterschool meal programs to provide free meals to all children during these most vulnerable times of the day and year, it creates new opportunities to engage in farm to school activities, and improves school meal program finances even more.

If you want to start or strengthen a Vermont farm to school program, you need to know how the different school-based meal programs work, how to maximize student participation, and how to support and partner with the hard-working people who run them.

The links on this page lead to many different resources – start here for everything you need to make the school meals – farm to school connection!

Learn which strategies will work best to strengthen the meal programs at your school.
Knowledge is power! START HERE to get a snapshot of school nutrition programs for any school in Vermont. Watch the webinar to get a brief introduction to the various meal and snack programs available to schools, and how to use the data snapshot for your school to understand what actions will give you the best leverage to strengthen the meal programs and local food purchasing in your specific situation.

Learn how each of the school-based meal programs work.  Now that you have gotten your school meal program data snapshot (see STEP 1), click on the links below to learn more about the different meal programs that are the best fit for your school's current situation. If you want your school to purchase more local foods, you need to understand the challenges and opportunities involved, so that you can work with key school decision-makers and the school meal program staff to figure out how to overcome them. 

  • CLICK HERE to learn how breakfast and lunch are financed and the federal requirements schools must follow.

  • CLICK HERE to learn about afterschool meals.

  • CLICK HERE to learn about summer meals

  • CLICK HERE to learn about the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program

  • CLICK HERE to learn how to get help moving breakfast after the bell.

  • CLICK HERE to learn how to increase enrollment in your school's meal program.

Learn where to get help launching or expanding your farm to school program. What special considerations go into purchasing more local food, securing funding for a school garden, or building lasting school relationships with local farmers? There are many organizations in Vermont that specialize in helping schools start and expand their farm to school programs. 

Vermont Farm to School Resources:


Vermont's Farm to School Network is comprised of both statewide and regional organizations, including Hunger Free Vermont—along with farmers, farm to school coordinators, teachers, parents, community gardeners, and more.  We all partner to offer our areas of expertise to schools and childcare providers seeking to start or strengthen farm to school in your community. 

Join the Vermont Farm to School Network to receive information about events, grants, and resources—it's easy and free!

For more information about the kinds of help Network partners can provide, visit their website:

For contact information for all statewide farm to school partner organizations, and for the local farm to school organization serving your region of Vermont, go directly here: