Reflecting back on the last twenty months I have spent here at FaHN and with the Rural Health Network, I ask myself: how can I begin to express my love and gratitude for the kind-hearted folks I have had the opportunity to do this incredible work with? Perhaps some farm to school Haikus?

Sweet corn from the field
brings sunflower smiles to kids

who eat farm fresh food.

Students try new fruit
at our strawberry taste tests:
“So good!” they cry out.

FaHN believes just food
is the northstar light to health,
happy lives and shared roots.

Haikus capture it best. Since the fall of 2016, we have taken our farm to school program in South Central NY from a few schools making seasonal apple purchases to five school districts purchasing local food for NY Thursday menus on a monthly basis. By next fall, we will have expanded NY Thursday procurement to 25 school districts across six counties and incorporated items like romaine lettuce, kale, and frozen vegetables on a more consistent basis.

FaHN’s farm to school program not only brings healthy and local food items to students, but also provides economic opportunities for farmers, leverages sustainable food system infrastructure, and creates a sense of community. I truly believe farm to school programs like this one can emerge as foundational pillars of just, viable, and equitable regional food systems that reclaim the right to food and health.

Although my work in food systems does not end here, I am humbled to have been a part of this work. Thank you to everyone who continues to make a difference and champion local food — I can’t wait to see where you take it!

With love,