Impacts of Farm to School in Washington State

At the Washington State Farm to School Network Launch Summit in May 2018, network members affirmed some goals and initial Strategic Priorities to help guide and align the diverse work that network members do in their own communities for shared, collective impact across our state. The Metrics and Evaluation team established a set of simple, measurable metrics to help show progress towards those Strategic Priorities and other ways that farm to school makes a difference for students, farmers, and communities across Washington State.

49% of Washington school districts surveyed by the USDA say they participate in farm to school activities, representing 1,183 schools and 542,145 students statewide

Source: 2015 USDA Farm to School Census


Local Food Sourcing
Goal: Increase the amount of local, Washington produced foods purchased and served by K-12 schools.

101 school districts reported buying food directly from Washington farms between 2013-2019*, with 10 new districts starting direct purchasing in 2019

At least $17,440,300 was spent on local food by Washington schools in the 2013-14 school year**

25 school food authorities host farmers in their cafeteria or classrooms**

Sources: *2015 USDA Farm to School Census, 2016 WSDA Farm to School Survey, 2015-2018 WSDA Taste Washington Day participation. **2015 USDA Farm to School Census.
“School food authorities” (SFAs) are predominantly school districts, and some individual private schools. Food purchases direct from farms include sales direct from producer, CSA, farmer co-op, or farmer’s market. 73 (of 308) SFAs reported the value of their local food sales; each SFA set its own definition of “local food.” 

Food & Ag Education CoP

Food & Agriculture Education
 Increase student understanding of where food comes from through education about food, agriculture, and nutrition.

62 school districts reported participating in Harvest of the Month or other themed promotions between 2013-2019, an increase from 47 districts in the 2013-2014 school year

Source: 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. “School food authorities” (SFAs) are predominantly school districts, and some individual private schools.

School Gardens Icon

School Gardens and Farm-based Learning
 Support school gardens and farms in every school.

There are at least 304 school gardens in Washington State, an increase from 96 school gardens reported in 2015

Source: 2018 WSDA Farm to School Survey and OSPI Washington State School & Community Gardens Google Map, as of January 2019. The survey and adding a garden to this map is voluntary, so may be under-reported. To add your school garden to the map, fill out the OSPI School Garden Map Update Survey.

Farm to ECE graphic

Farm to Early Care & Education (ECE)
 Increase the number of early childhood education programs incorporating farm to school.

72 ECE providers reported participating in Farm to ECE activities in 2017

Source: 2018 National Farm to School Network ECE Survey. Top Farm to ECE activities that programs reported conducting included food and agriculture education, serving local foods in meals and snacks, and having an on-site garden.

Other resources on farm to school in Washington State

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