• Lowell Farm to School logo 


    Lowell Farm to School is a collaboration that uses local food and education to celebrate our land, wellness, learning, collective impact and resilience as a culturally diverse community. Lowell Farm to School is a coalition of teachers, administrators, food and nutrition professionals, non-profits, local business and educators including such partners as Lowell Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services (LPSFNS), Mill City Grows, FoodCorps, the 21st Century Afterschool program and many many more. 


    Lowell’s Farm to School is part of a National Farm to School Movement that enriches the  connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education sites. Farm to School activities for Lowell Public Schools (as well as at the national level) fall into three categories: 


    Picture collage of cafeteria food preparation



    • LPS Food and Nutrition Services (LPSFNS) invests in local fruits and vegetables that further enhance LPS’s school breakfast and lunch program, including its recent commitment to source 100% local lettuce grown at Little Leaf Farms in Devens, MA in the growing season.

    • Each month, all Lowell Public Schools students have access to a breakfast or lunch item featuring local products through LPSFNS’s participation in the state Harvest of the Month program.

      • The Harvest of the Month (HOTM) program is an opportunity to celebrate local abundance and experiment with new foods and recipes. The program’s goal is to encourage healthy food choices by increasing students’ exposure to seasonal foods, while also supporting farmers and building excitement about school meals.
      • Not only do students have access to Harvest of the Month menu items -- they also can enjoy an archive of cooking and farm videos, family newsletters, and nutrition education posters and exhibits in their cafeteria.

    • All food service professionals have access to semi-annual farm to school trainings covering such topics as scratch cooking, seasonal menu planning and nutrition education.

    • For elementary schools participating in the USDA Fresh Fruits and Vegetables program, local fruits and vegetables make a regular snack appearance on the menu.


    Farm to Food picture collage of various classroom projects



    • LPS has over 16 school gardens across the district managed by teachers, staff, administrators and community members and supported by local agricultural non-profit Mill City Grows.

      • All LPS schools serving middle school students currently have school gardens and, by 2023, all middle school students will receive science and/or social studies hands-on school garden instruction connected to their curriculum.

    • LPSFNS partners with classrooms and 21st Century after school cooking programs throughout the district to provide nutrition education programming.

    • Partners such as Mill City Grows and Mass Audubon provide quarterly hands-on professional development opportunities to Lowell teachers and educators to help make their gardens and Farm to School curriculum come alive.


    Food to Farm picture collage of community engagement



    • Afterschool and summer enrichment made possible through 21st Century funding collaborates with a rich network of agricultural, STEM and food based non-profit such as the, Mill City Grows, Mass Audubon, Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust, Horne Family Farms, Green Dragons and passionate culinary, health and science teachers throughout the district providing hundreds of students Farm to School programming each year.

    • Since 2018, Mill City Grows and LPSFNS have partnered to give away 1,000 School Grab and Go produce bags FREE to Lowell families participating in the Summer Eats Breakfast and Lunch program. Each bag is full of delicious fruits and vegetables grown in LPS schools gardens or procured from local farms.

    • Mill City Grows offers Farm to Table Family Cooking Classes each season, rotating across the district and hosting in partnership with LPSFNS food service professionals in school kitchens.

    • District and community stakeholders each year participate in a Farm to School District Committee that meets quarterly and identifies opportunities to expand Farm to School programming in Lowell -- including recently receiving a 2-year USDA Farm to School Grant.


    Why Farm to School?

    • Nutritious food supports high-quality education and is a fundamental civil right of every student we serve.

    • Farm to School programming creates multisensory, hands-on teaching and learning opportunities to engage all students including our ELL and kinesthetic learners.

    • Engaging families through evening cooking classes, school garden volunteer events and Harvest of the Month learning materials makes parents our partners in learning.

    • Our commitment to growing, gardening and nutrition education spans YEARS of trial and error and embraces the notion that there is no silver bullet to improving our schools.

    Our partners include teachers, LPSFNS staff, after school providers, community partners, families and local farmers ensuring every adult in the system is accountable for the success of our students