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Farm to School: A Comprehensive Review from 2010-2020


  • Farm-to-school activities aim to improve nutritional outcomes for K-12 students.
  • A multi-pronged study of farm-to-school efforts from 2010-2020.
  • A cumulative description of farm to school activities over the last decade.
The Challenge

After the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a nationwide effort to incorporate more fresh, local food in school meals and curriculum. The USDA seeks to understand the extent of all farm to school activities and their impact on the economy and other local, regional and national systems. This includes describing the outcomes of USDA’s Farm to School Grant Program.

The Approach

Abt Associates will examine farm to school efforts between 2010 and 2020 through a multi-pronged approach:

  • A literature review of farm to school-focused publications
  • An analysis of nearly 1,000 progress reports submitted by 365 USDA Farm to School grantees from 2013-2017
  • In-depth interviews with food distributors about local food purchasing around the country  
  • A national census of farm to school activities of about 19,000 School Food Authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program
The Results

The study will produce a first-of-its-kind set of reports. It will include longitudinal results from a census of SFAs across the country, comprehensive findings from 2013-2017 Farm to School grantees and a review of farm to school-related publications over the past decade. Together, these will provide a cumulative review of the scope and accomplishments of these activities.  Along with providing an opportunity to reflect on past efforts, our findings will provide the USDA, SFAs, food distributors and other stakeholders the context to shape future farm to school activities. The reports and census data will be released in 2020 and 2021.