October is National Farm to School Month. Schools and early care and education programs throughout Arizona are participating in the 2018 Farm Fresh Challenge sponsored by the Arizona Department of Education.

Participating sites are working to serve more products that are Arizona grown and raised. School garden celebration and other events are taking place to highlight Arizona’s agriculture industry. Various schools and early care and education programs will be recognized at the 2018 School Food Programs Conference and Food Show on December 5, 2018. Three sites will be selected to receive a Best of the Bunch Award, which highlights the selected sites’ outstanding accomplishments.

Farm to school programs differ from school to school, but they always include one or more of the following:

  • Procurement – purchasing and serving locally grown foods
  • Education – students learn about agriculture, food, and health through activity
  • School Gardens – hands-on learning through gardening

The Arizona Department of Health Services supports farm to school efforts through nutrition education. The AZ Health Zone and our School Garden Program are two programs that offer education and free certification for school and community gardens. This certification process is an easy and safe way to bring fresh produce into the school cafeteria.

Take steps to get informed, be inspired, and take action for promoting farm to school activities in October. Find out more at by visiting the Farm to School Month website.