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NC State Extension

Farm to Institution

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“Nationwide, tens of millions of people each day eat their meals outside of home at schools, colleges, hospitals, corporate cafeterias and government agencies. Each one of these institutions represents an opportunity for U.S. farmers, ranchers and food businesses to gain market share, earn a livelihood, forge ties with local residents, and improve community health and well-being through farm to institution efforts, in which local producers sell to institutions nearby.” USDA Farm to Institution Initiatives. This page contains resources categorized by institutions that could be collaborative partners: schools, preschools, universities and hospitals.

Students discovering healthy foods in the school garden.

On This Page

Farm to School Farm to University
Farm to Preschool Farm to Hospital

:Farm to School

  • Training Template: Farm to School 101 for Educators: Use this training template to teach educators about Farm to School (F2S) and how to incorporate F2S lessons in and outside of the classroom. The template consists of a customizable slide deck, speaker notes, handouts and an evaluation form.
  • Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions: An ATTRA resource guide for farm to institution programs. It includes models of farm to institution programs, program considerations and case studies.
  • Institutional Food Purchasing: This 2010 report from Michigan Good Food Work Group describes trends, institutional purchasing goals, indicators and agenda priorities in K-12 schools.
  • Farm to School: Farm to School is a movement that strives to build a youth’s connection to healthy, local food through school gardening, farm field trips, hands-on cooking and nutrition and local sourcing of fresh fruits and vegetables to school cafeterias. Explore Extension’s related programs and learn how to get your office involved in Farm to School.
  • Farm to Cafeteria: Farm to Cafeteria is the process of facilitating and procuring locally grown, GAP-certified produce, meat and seafood from a grower into the school. Check out Extension’s page to learn about sourcing models and state initiatives.
  • NC Farm to School Coalition: program brings together local schools, state agencies and organizations together with local farmers to supply healthy nutritious food to our children’s schools. Find Coalition Members near you.
  • NC Farm to School: North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Farm to School program supplies school cafeterias across the state with locally grown produce from North Carolina farms. 
  • National Farm to School Network: National Farm to School Network increases access to local food and nutrition education to improve children’s health, strengthen family farms, and cultivate vibrant communities.
  • Farm to Senior Services (F2SS): F2SS is a three-year (2020-2023) project designed to increase local food procurement in county-based senior food services, increase farmer and food hub revenue, increase access to healthy, local foods for senior populations, and increase knowledge on benefits of and how to access local foods. Local food pathways will be piloted in three North Carolina counties: McDowell, Scotland, and Warren.

:Farm to Preschool

  • Farm to Preschool Harvest of the MonthThe Farm to Preschool Harvest of the Month curriculum is designed for preschool-age children, age 3-5 in any type of child care setting. The curriculum was developed by the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College through an innovative and scientifically tested evaluation method to capture knowledge, preference and behavior change in preschool aged children. 
  • Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions: An ATTRA resource guide for farm to institution programs. It includes models of farm to institution programs, program considerations and case studies.
  • Institutional Food Purchasing: This 2010 report from Michigan Good Food Work Group describes trends, institutional purchasing goals, indicators and agenda priorities in K-12 schools.

:Farm to University

  • Local Food Ambassador Program: NC 10% Campaign’s program that facilitates teams of students, University Dining, University Sustainability Office, faculty/staff, Cooperative Extension, and area farmers at each of six Minority-Serving Institutions to build more resilient food systems on campus. The six NC universities are Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, North Carolina Central University, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Winston-Salem State University.
  • ASAP Farm to Institution: This page from Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project describes UNC of Asheville’s transition to local food procurement for their dining services to students.
  • UFoods: University Foods Systems: A  two-year project designed to develop new market opportunities for farmers by researching and building collaborative supply chains links from farms to university campuses in North Carolina.

:Farm to Hospital


Primary Contact:
Robyn Stout
State Coordinator, NC 10% Campaign
Center for Environmental Farming Systems
NC State University
robyn_stout@ncsu.edu