Taos Farm to School
Why Farm to School?
Farm to school benefits everyone involved—children, farmers, and communities.
Farm to school provides children with nutritious, high quality local food so they are ready to learn and grow. Farm to school activities enhance their education through hands-on learning about food, agriculture, and nutrition.
Farm to school can serve as a significant financial opportunity for farmers, fishers, ranchers, food processors, and food manufacturers by opening doors to an institutional market worth billions of dollars.
Farm to school benefits everyone from students, teachers, and administrators to parents and farmers, providing opportunities to build family and community engagement. Buying from local producers and processors creates new jobs and strengthens the local economy.
For more information, review the Benefits of Farm to School fact sheet.
Taos Farm to School Project 2020 Meeting Schedule
Taos Farm to School Planning Grant
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in August that it had awarded a $50,000 planning grant to develop a farm-to-school strategy for Taos Municipal Schools. The grant was among 126 farm-to-school projects in 46 states that were selected for funding in 2019.
The Taos Farm to School grant, administered by Taos County Economic Development Corp. (TCEDC) and coordinated by project manager, Micah Roseberry, of Agriculture, Implementation, Research and Education (A.I.R.E.), is creating an action plan informed by a diverse and dynamic stakeholder group of teachers, farmers, ranchers, a school nutritionist, board members, students, parents and community partners. They are identifying ways to fill gaps in the local food supply chain with a farmer/rancher co-op that supports small-scale producers—especially Hispano and Native growers. They plan to aggregate and process food at the TCEDC and increase access to institutional markets while offering healthy, locally grown food to students. The plan will also examine how to adapt school meal menus to accommodate more local ingredients, expand existing school gardens and local food-related programs and incorporate agricultural education into day-to-day classroom curriculum at each school in the district.
The Taos school district has adopted policies emphasizing the importance of serving healthy, local food (see the recent TMS Wellness Policy here.) It partners with A.I.R.E. for a program called Growing Community Now which operates several student gardens, a harvest festival and classes. This groundwork, and growing calls to protect and improve traditional agriculture in Taos County, have energized the district and its partners and highlighted the need to develop a clear and comprehensive plan to strengthen the district’s nutrition initiative and sow the seeds of a sustainable farm-to-school program.