Seed-to-Table Programs: One Step Towards Food Security

Similar to the Farm to School Program, the From Seed to Table Program (FStT) helps bring food from farms to local urban systems. However, this program has not yet been utilized in the United States, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a success if implemented. The program initially began as a three-year program, implemented as a means of encouraging urban farmers and urban populations to take interest in activities to enhance small-scale commercial urban agriculture.

Food Security Solution

The FStT Program took place in over eighteen cities with a budget of 4,292,435 Euros (4.5 million USD). This program included multiple aspects of a study that looked at urban agriculture systems. These activities included designing training materials and training staff; implementing 18 different projects for farmer-led urban agricultural programs; strengthening urban agricultural organizations; analyzing the funds needed to run the farm programs; and finally, exchanging information gathered from the program to use in future activities.

Cities, Poverty, and Food

Three pillars of urban agriculture development projects. Image via RUAF.

The FStT Program showed great results over the three-year study. By learning about farming and sustainable agriculture, farms that took part in this program not only had a rise in production income of 15 to 25%, but they learned new ways to farm including the use of new varieties of pesticides or bio-pesticides, seedling production, crop rotation (or association), pest and disease management, hygienic processing.

Aside from these techniques, they also had a chance to improve their organizational functions, including joint production planning and marketing, record keeping, quality control, improved decision-making and management, and the creation of a savings scheme or a revolving fund. What’s more, areas that participated in these programs saw an increase in the amount of readily available food as well as an increase in fresh local food consumption, which would eventually lead to a healthier population. More information on this program can be found here.

Ideally, this program would be implemented in the United States and serve its citizens in hugely successful ways. While we don’t have the same program as the one explained above, there are yet some programs that fall under the same category. For example, there’s a program at the Garden School Foundation which focuses on agriculture education.

A woman plants a seed in a community garden Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Image via RUAF.

A woman plants a seed in a community garden Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Image via RUAF.

Agriculture-Based Education for Students

This program is conducted year-round and allows for agriculture-based education programs for students in kindergarten through 5th grade. This program allows for students to experience what it’s like to work in gardens, while at the same time encouraging the students to protect and care for the environment. They make the program fun, and therefore the students enjoy learning about sustainable agriculture and food security. More information on this program can be found here.

If more programs like the two above were to take place in the USA today, there’s no doubt that more people would understand the importance of food security and agricultural systems – the question is, how many people would take the time to take part and learn about these programs? If we make them available to individuals in rural or urban settings alike, we’d undoubtedly see a rise in awareness around the issues of urban agriculture and food security.

Featured Image: Planting Seeds of Knowledge. Image via National Maize & Wheat Improvement Center.

About The Author

My name I Heather Sowalla. I have a passion for the environment starting from the time I was a young girl. I fell in love with hiking and fishing, even playing with bugs! As I grew older my passions began to develop into something that I could mold my education around. Starting with my undergrad degree I focused on fish and wildlife management which took me from central Pennsylvania the entire way to Alaska for an internship with the Student Conservation Association. After that I decided, due to health reasons, that I needed a change of pace and so I moved in a direction of sustainability, in particular agriculture and food security and now as I work through my internship - I plan on graduating in the Spring of 2015 with my Masters. What will I do after that? Well ... I'm not really sure. Maybe I will be the next great of the Environmental Era? Maybe not ... but I will do my best to try!