Department of Agriculture

Supporting Arkansas farmers and ranchers while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of Arkansas, the nation, and across the globe

Farm to School and Early Childhood Program

The Farm to School and Early Childhood Education Program connects child learning facilities, local growers, and the community through food and farm education experiences paired with healthy, locally grown food. This program was initiated in August 2019 at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture in response to the Farm to School Act 506 passing through Arkansas Legislature.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is recognized as a supporting partner by the National Farm to School Network and joins the USDA Southwest Region in regional farm to school development and growth.

Farm to school programs include some combination of school gardening, local food procurement, and traditional or garden-based education about food, nutrition, agriculture, and/or natural resources. Farm to school improves public health, strengthens the local economy and local communities, improves food access and food abundance for all, and protects the environment. While children, local growers, and local communities experience the benefits of farm to school most directly, farm to school also supports school, health, and food systems.

  • School Gardens: Students engage in hands-on learning through gardening;
  • Local Food Procurement: Local foods are purchased, promoted and served in the cafeteria or as a snack or taste-test;
  • Education: Students participate in educational activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition.

Monthly Newsletters

  • April 2020 Farm to School and COVID-19/Food Access Survey
  • May 2020 Farm to School and COVID-19/Food Access Map
  • May 2020 No Kid Hungry Text Line Helps Families Find Meals During School Closures

Reporting

The Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act 2019  Annual Report provides information on what food and farm products are being purchased in Arkansas and how institutions, schools and entities are purchasing local food.

For more information about the Farm to School and Early Childhood Program:
Contact Sarah Lane at sarah.lane@agriculture.arkansas.gov or call 501 251-3017

Click HERE to view the  Arkansas Department of Agriculture's 2020 Photo/Video Release Form.