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“Farm to school” refers to any program that connects K-12 schools with local farmers. “Farm to cafeteria” and “farm to institution” are terms sometimes used for programs that include farm to school components, but might also focus on bringing local produce to other local institutions. Most farm to school efforts concentrate on what is called “farm direct” purchasing, where schools buy products directly from local farmers to serve in the school cafeteria. The business partnerships that develop through farm direct programs often lead to educational activities, with farmers and schools working together to teach students about nutrition, agriculture, the environment, and other subjects. Not all farm to school programs involve farm direct purchasing; food distributors that supply schools can also participate by purchasing locally grown products and making them available to school purchasing officers.

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