Areas for further research
The farm to school movement is still relatively young, and there are many potential benefits that have not yet been thoroughly researched or understood. Some of the most important aspects of this work are also the most difficult to measure, especially at a statewide level across multiple schools and districts. What follows is a list of suggested areas for further research and/or action in each of the four sectors. Some areas have abundant activity, but lack reliable data collection at a statewide level, while others lack both activity and measurement. Many of these gaps were identified via a review of the measures suggested in the National Farm to School Network's evaluation framework. To download the entire list of measures and data gaps identified by the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network, click here.
- Use of local foods in school meal programs beyond lunch (e.g., breakfast, snacks, summer, and afterschool programs).
- Parent/care-giver participation in farm to school activities such as after-school programming, volunteering in school gardens, and farm field trips.
- Impact of farm to school programming on families.
- Inclusion of farm to school activities in school district wellness policies.
- Student and family consumption of local fruits and vegetables.
- Total number of students engaged by farm to school educational activities.
- Alignment of farm to school activities with Common Core or state-adopted content standards (subjects, grade levels, frequency, type of activities, etc.).
- Impact of farm to school educational activities on student knowledge.
- Number of school gardens with a funded staff position (School Garden Coordinator or Educator).
Community Economic Development
- Increased variety and/or frequency of local products served.
- Amount, in pounds, of Oregon-grown or locally-grown or raised products purchased by Oregon school districts.
- Farm access to a distribution network to deliver products to Oregon’s schools.
- Percentage of farm to school training opportunities and school food sales that benefit socially disadvantaged producers and businesses (e.g., growers, ranchers, processors).
- Number or percentage of school procurement policies with language encouraging purchases of locally grown and processed foods.
- State agency funding available for school districts to link cafeteria and classroom activities, for districts to engage the community in their farm to school efforts, and to help track and monitor local purchases under the state farm to school grant program.
- Impact of farm to school activities on student environmental literacy.
- Time spent visiting local farmers to learn about sustainable food production methods.
- Purchases by Oregon school districts of third-party eco-label certified foods and foods grown on local diversified farms.
- Number of school-based composting programs.