Farm to School History
Thanks to Ecotrust for compiling this history.
Through wide-ranging partnerships, farm to school and school garden programs have grown. But it didn’t happen over night. It has taken the state more than a decade to advance to where it is today.
2006: The Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network is formed
2007: Oregon creates a “Farm to School” position in the Oregon Department of Agriculture
2008: A parallel position is created in the Oregon Department of Education, making Oregon the first state in the country to support this program through positions in two state agencies.
2011: A Farm to School and School Garden grant program is created for school districts, starting with a small pilot funding amount of $200,000.
2013: Grant funding is expanded for school districts by $1,000,000, to a total of $1.2 million for 2013-15, allocation funding to 21 school districts around the state to buy local foods and to provide “food-based, agriculture based and garden-based educational activities.”
2015: Funding is expanded again, this time to a total of $4.5 million for 2015-17.
2017: Advocates and practitioners throughout the state rallied to keep Farm to School and School Garden grant funding in the Oregon state budget. HB 2038, championed by Representative Brian Clem, passed with unanimous support in both the House and the Senate, preserving $4.5 million in funding for the statewide Farm to School and School Garden grant program for the coming two-year budget cycle.
2019: HB 2579 passed with unanimous support in both the House and the Senate, increasing farm to school and school garden funding from $4.5 million to $15 million. The new legislation includes early $5 million in recurring funding for Oregon Department of Education to continue their programming.
2020: With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Farm to School grant funds are in threat of being eliminated.
2021: In June 2021 the Oregon legislators voted to approve $10.2 million in funding for Oregon’s Farm to School Grant Program, with all grant programs intact, and indicate that this level is sustainable into the future.
2022: The Governor of the State of Oregon issues the state's first ever Farm to School Month Proclamation in October.
What Farm to School partners are saying
“We should always be using tax dollars to buy local. It never made sense to me to buy apples from anywhere else than right here in Oregon. This program connects our schools and children to our most important industry: agriculture. It’s Oregon farmers feeding Oregon’s children. There are a lot of people to thank for their work on Farm to School over the years, but Speaker Kotek and Rep. Nathanson really went to bat for us last session. We wouldn’t have a Farm to School program without their help, plain and simple.”
— Representative Brian Clem
“Oregon should be the best place for ensuring students have access to nutritious meals at school so they can learn, grow, and flourish. A student who has a healthy breakfast and lunch at school is more likely to have better attendance, graduate high school, and be fully present and ready to learn in the classroom. Farm to School helps make that happen.”
— Matt Newell-Ching, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon
“At a time of so many hard choices in our state budget, FoodCorps is thrilled to see the Oregon legislature investing in farm to school programming and the dividends it will bring for our kids, our farmers and ranchers, and our communities. This commitment will strengthen Oregon’s farm economy, while helping to ensure that children across the state are well-nourished and ready to learn.”
— Curt Ellis, FoodCorps
“Farm to school is a win, win, win! Farmers win, kids win and communities win.”
— Megan Kemple, Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network
“I really don’t think there’s anything greater than feeding kids good food. That’s what this farm to school bill is all about. We want to make sure our kids have the best. That means both in what they eat, having the nutrition for their brains to learn, but also the environment that they live in, and the economy of that environment.”
— Lola Milholland, Umi Organic
Farm to School in the News
Farm to School and School Garden advocacy efforts in the news
OPB Think Out Loud
The Clatskanie Chief
New bill would support school gardens, farm-to-school programs
The St. Helens Chronicle
New bill supports school gardens
Lawmakers approve Oregon farmland easement fund
Jefferson Public Radio
Farm To School Funding Held Up In Oregon
Bandon Western World
Farm to School: Fifth-graders learn how food gets to their tables
Rick George: Teacher’s vision propagates a harvest of change
Blue Mountain Eagle
Farm to School funding hangs in the balance
Celebrate Oregon Agriculture: Farm to School Programs
$5.6 million for Oregon farm-to-school funding passes key committee
$5.6 million for Oregon farm-to-school passes key committee
Yes on Farm to School and School Gardens
From the Willamette Valley to Curry County, farms, schools and kids are benefiting from Farm to School and School Garden Grants.
Bend-La Pine Students Go Whole Hog
Wellness Specialist Katrina Wiest sees program’s positive effects on farmers, students
Farm to School Funds Help Parkdale Orchard Sell More Fruit
Randy Kiyokawa sees multiple benefits from working with public schools