About the Census

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers the Farm to School Program in order to support and promote the use of local foods in Child Nutrition Programs. USDA accomplishes this by providing grants, training, and technical assistance to Child Nutrition Program operators interested in initiating or expanding their farm to school efforts. USDA also conducts and disseminates research on existing farm to school activities and opportunities for expanding the use of local food products in Child Nutrition Programs, including the USDA Farm to School Census.

The Farm to School Census is conducted periodically to assess the state of farm to school activities across the U.S. The Census surveys all school food authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program. USDA conducted the first Farm to School Census in 2013 and again in 2015. The most recent Farm to School Census was conducted in the fall of 2019 and findings are largely based on farm to school participation in the 2018-2019 school year. You may read further about the Census data and how we gathered it.

The 2019 Farm to School Census is part of a larger comprehensive review of farm to school in the U.S., which also includes a descriptive review of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, a review of published research on farm to school since 2010, and a set of interviews with school food distributors. These reports are available online [Farm to School Census and Comprehensive Review | USDA-FNS].