Farm to School in Idaho is only possible through strong partnerships and collaboration between several key organizations and agencies.
University of Idaho Extension is currently serving as the core partner with the National Farm to School Network, and is responsible for reporting statewide outcomes, impacts and activities as part of a multi-year agreement.
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture/Idaho Preferred has been at the forefront of the Farm to School movement in Idaho and nationally for over a decade, creating opportunities for farmers to expand their market opportunities and working with school districts of all sizes to incorporate more Idaho agricultural products into school meals. Some of these efforts and accomplishments include:
- Produced the first Idaho Farm to School Manual
- Hosted the first Idaho Farm to School Conference in 2014 with partners
- Awarded a USDA Farm to School Grant in 2015 to host regional Farm to School Workshops across Idaho with University of Idaho Extension and partners
- Served as State Lead for National Farm to School Network until 2017
- Created educational posters in conjunction with Idaho State Department of Education
- “Incredible Edible Idaho” poster sets available to teachers upon request
- Created My Idaho Plate materials which align with USDA “My State My Plate” nutrition education curriculum
- Workshops at Idaho School Nutrition Association Annual Conference
In 1986, the Idaho Ag in the Classroom Association was founded to plan, develop and disseminate a quality, easy to use curriculum supplement for Idaho teachers.
In 1987, the Association contracted with the University of Idaho to research and develop a curriculum guide that would enable teachers to use examples from Idaho agriculture to teach language, science, social studies, mathematics and health/nutrition. The guide was tested across the state and approved by the State Board of Education.
Idaho Ag in the Classroom is a cooperative effort between the USDA, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, University of Idaho, agribusiness, commodity groups, farm organizations, farmers, ranchers and educators across the state.
The original curriculum is now a resource guide book for teachers that provides a wealth of background materials about production of food and fiber and a series of four activity books for Pre K–2nd, 3rd–6th, 7th-8th, and 9th-12th grade levels.
Thousands of Idaho teachers have participated in Ag in the Classroom summer tours and workshops and shared their experience in the classroom. Additional activities and resources include:
- The Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix, an online, searchable, and standards-based curriculum map for K-12 teachers
- The Idaho Agriculture license plate. Proceeds from the sale and renewal of these plates help to advance and promote agriculture literacy in Idaho
- 4-day "Up Close and Personal" teacher tours during the summer, during which educators visit one-on-one with Idaho Ag leaders, learn statistics about Idaho Ag, and increase knowledge of Idaho Agriculture
- "On the Road" Workshops addressing current agriculture issues. K-12 teachers can take a workshop through Idaho Ag in the Classroom every summer and receive credit
The Idaho State Department of Education’s Child Nutrition Program was an early adopter of Farm to School and a promoter and funder of school garden projects across the state. This has included:
- Training and support for staff
- Collaboration with partners to provide resources for schools
- Garden grants to establish school gardens statewide