Farm to Fork


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Advancing Farm to School: Lessons from the Field

Posted July 2015

In 2011, fourteen organizations in Wisconsin received U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding, as distributed through the Wisconsin Clearinghouse, to increase access to healthy food systems in their regions. Community Transformation Grant recipients were asked to prioritize farm to school as the main strategy for achieving healthy food systems access and obesity prevention. They were also encouraged to develop secondary strategies, including community gardens and farmers markets.

Each of the fourteen communities started work under the Community Transformation Grant in very different places, ranging from having just started farm to school efforts to already having an entire branch of a non-profit devoted to farm to school. Throughout the duration of the grant period, each community built and strengthened their farm to school program in distinct and innovative ways, based on unique community assets and coalitions. This resource attempts to capture and communicate many of the valuable lessons learned throughout this multi-county capacity building process.

The information in this guide was gathered through nearly thirty interviews with grant coordinators and key partners from each county. Each interview was transcribed and then separated and categorized by topic, so that the “lessons learned” portion of the chapters could be informed by the experience of all fourteen communities. Interviews were conducted in the summer and early fall of 2014, and the resource was written and assembeled between the summer and spring of 2014-2015.

Each chapter of Lessons from the Field contains grantee-focused case studies, a series of distilled “lessons learned,” and a resource section that highlights those tools and resources that were highly recommended by both community members and experts in the field.

This resource is a publication of the Wisconsin Clearinghouse. Supporting partners include Transform Wisconsin, the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Community Protection.

Advancing Farm to School: Lessons from the Field