To connect schools and local producers in the Gallatin Valley, Montana. Through these connections the program will realize many goals, including:
- serving healthy, fresh, made from scratch, local meals in school cafeterias;
- improving student nutrition;
- providing health, nutrition and agriculture education;
- enhancing local economies by supporting local farmers;
- and instilling a sense of community citizenship in students.
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Gallatin Valley Farm to School (GVF2S) was started in February 2007 by a Steering Committee of committed and concerned parents and community members. Today GVF2S is a collaboration between many diverse organizations, such as parent councils of various schools in the area, Bozeman School District Food Service, Learning by Nature, the Community Food Co-op, Montana State University, and Grow Montana’s FoodCorps program. We are a Bozeman-based nonprofit organization.
What are the benefits of Farm to School?
Think of some of the problems that are widespread and well-known… health (obesity epidemic, diabetes, reduced lifespan), environmental (climate change, pollution, loss of habitat), and social (local economies collapsing, loss of farming communities)… and you can find a common thread–food. According to the National Farm to School Network, benefits of farm to school programs include:
- Strengthen children’s and communities’ knowledge about, and attitudes toward, agriculture, food, nutrition and the environment.
- Increase children’s participation in the school meals program and consumption of fruits and vegetables, thereby improving childhood nutrition, reducing hunger, and preventing obesity and obesity-related diseases.
- Benefit school food budgets if planning and menu choices are made consistent with seasonal availability of fresh and minimally processed whole foods.
- Support economic development across numerous sectors and promote local job creation.
- Increase market opportunities for local farmers, fishers, ranchers, food processors and food manufacturers.
- Decrease the distance between producers and consumers, thus promoting food security while reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and reliance on oil.
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