Q&A with Chelsey Simpson, National Farm to School Network
Chelsey Simpson is the Membership and Communications Associate at the National Farm to School Network. She lives in Oklahoma City where she volunteers at the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. Learn more about the National Farm to School Network
What is the National Farm to School Network?
The National Farm to School Network provides vision, leadership, and support to advance the Farm to School movement at local, state, regional and national levels. Aside from our national staff, we work with eight regional lead agencies and 50 state lead organizations. Our goal is to make Farm to School programs an essential component of strong and just local and regional food systems, ensuring the health of all school children, farms, the environment, economy and communities.
Can you describe the areas where farm to school and farm based education intersect and compliment each other?
We consider farm based education to be an important component of Farm to School. Farm based education, school gardens and other programs that introduce kids to the origin of their food and get them involved in agriculture have been proven to increase the likelihood that they will try and like new foods when they see them in their school cafeteria.
What is National Farm to School Month?
Congress designated October as National Farm to School Month in 2010 in recognition of the strong role that Farm to School can play in promoting good health and strong economies. The National Farm to School Network uses farm to School Month as an opportunity to celebrate the connections that are happening all over the country between schools and local food!
What can farm based education professionals do to engage and participate in this exciting month long initiative?
First, visit our website, and check out the materials on our resources page. There are posters to download, a communications toolkit, and fact sheets to distribute to community members you connect with. Please use these tools to help us raise awareness about the month! If you are able to host any special events during October, add them to our event map. And don't forget to take the Farm to School Counts Pledge by telling us how many children you hope to engage in farm based education activities during October! Everyone who participates in the pledge process will be entered to win one of three, $500 prizes via a random drawing.