Sara Tedeschi, Outreach Specialist
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Sara Tedeschi talks about the farm to the school program.
3:06 – Total Time
0:16 – What is Farm to School
0:45 – Pieces of the program
1:18 – Farm to School success
1:48 – Program benefits
2:18 – Wisconsin foods used
2:45 – Where to find information
2:56 – Lead out
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Sevie Kenyon: Sara, can you describe for us Farm to School?
Sara Tedeschi: What we are trying to do is connect schools in Wisconsin with our rich agricultural community to support our local economy. So, wherever it is possible for schools to increase their purchase of local farm products and incorporate it into their meals or snack programs and incorporate education along with it for the sake of the students, that’s what we’re trying to accomplish.
Sevie Kenyon: What are the pieces of this Farm to School program?
Sara Tedeschi: First of all, the local purchasing is very important. We really are trying to develop new and growing and stable markets for Wisconsin producers. But we also are very committed to increasing the nutrition and agriculture education along with these Farm to School programs. School greenhouses, field trips to farms, farmers coming into the school, guest chefs, culinary programs, things like that we’re kids really get hands-on with the food.
Sevie Kenyon: What kind of success have you had so far with this program?
Sara Tedeschi: Well, it has grown in leaps and bounds. Partners all across the agricultural supply chain are really falling in line. They are really at the table wanting to make this work. So, all the way from the producers as well as the schools themselves, the school communities, school administrators, parents on boards but also distributor partners, processing partners really trying to link up the whole supply chain to make this work.
Sevie Kenyon: What are some of the benefits you might list?
Sara Tedeschi: Benefits, I think, are clear. We really are looking to provide markets for farmers that allow them to expand their production, to bring new farmers into production. On the other side, public health is getting very interested and so programs like this are looked at as long-term sustainable approaches but also affecting children’s food preferences for the long term.
Sevie Kenyon: What kinds of foods are we talking about?
Sara Tedeschi: We really are talking about everything that we produce here in Wisconsin, for the most part. There is an increased requirement for schools to serve students fresh fruits and vegetables. [There is] dairy, we have meats, poultry. I would say that Farm to School often calls to mind increased consumption of the fresh fruits and vegetables for kids.
Sevie Kenyon: And Sara, if people are interested in this, where would you suggest they turn?
Sara Tedeschi: So, I would Google “Wisconsin Farm to School.” You will also come to the national Farm to School website and Wisconsin has pages on that website that talk about some of our programs.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Sara Tedeschi, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, University of Wisconsin in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, WI and I’m Sevie Kenyon.
The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is now accepting applications to be an AmeriCorps Farm to School site for the 2013-2014 school year. Click here for more details.
For more information about Wisconsin’s Farm to School program click here.