So, what is Farm to Cafeteria? It is pretty easy to envision cafeterias when talking about Farm to School. Those of us who attended public and private schools can remember the trays that you push down the line, the glass protecting the food, the servers behind the line. When we left the serving area, we had everything on our plate or tray that we needed or wanted.
Schools need an easy, inexpensive way to feed their charges, and cafeterias offer just that. But pause a moment and think of all the other places that cafeterias exist. You’ll find them in hospitals, prisons, colleges, childcare centers, government and corporate offices, not to mention the ones at the mall where you take your family for supper or Sunday dinner.
Farm to School represents only one segment of institutional food service. Many attending the conference may be focused on the Farm to School side of cafeterias, but many of us also see that the lowly cafeteria might be more than that. If cafeterias can provide healthy food, engage people with the production of their food, provide a place to share flavorful meals, return the source of production to the community, create meaningful work, and expand knowledge, they may well be a place to change the world.