Teaching students where their food comes from is a fundamental step in the development of healthy eating habits. Dairy foods can play a unique role in Farm to School efforts because they are made year-round and are more local than you might think.
Fresh and Local
Did you know that milk is the number one product that schools source from local farmers? Ohio and West Virginia is home to about 1,800 dairy farms, and there’s a good chance the milk at your school came from one of those farms. In fact, milk arrives at schools in as little as 72 hours after leaving the dairy farm. Talk about fresh!
Cheese and yogurt are also local to our region. Ohio is home to nearly 65 dairy companies that bottle milk or make cheese, yogurt and other dairy foods.
The American Dairy Association Mideast is pleased to share educational materials to help you engage your students in exploring the connections between good nutrition and the role farmers play in creating delicious dairy foods and helping to protect our environment. Our resource library includes posters and toolkits, lesson plans, printable fact sheets and more.
For grades 5-8, Discovery Education offers a virtual field trip, 360° video and images, classroom guides and lesson plans that highlight dairy’s innovation and connection to science and technology, thanks to their partnership with the National Dairy Council and America’s dairy farm families. Also included on their website is a STEM lesson plan and illustrated video demonstrating some of the surprising ways dairy farmers are investing in sustainable farming practices.
Outside of the Classroom
- Plan a virtual farm tour or invite a local farmer to your school to learn about milk’s journey from farm to fridge.
- Host a taste test event featuring local foods, like savory parfaits made with yogurt and ingredients from your school’s garden.
- Invite guest speakers to talk to your students. Reach out to your local FFA or 4-H chapter, County Extension Office, Master Gardeners Club or Soil & Water Conservation District office.