RI Farm & Sea to School Institute

****Applications for the 2024-2025 Institute have closed, but we are happy to speak to you anytime about the program and help you prepare for next year’s Institute! Click here to get in touch with us.****

Scroll down for photos from the Kickoff Retreat for the 2024-2025 Institute Teams!

Overview of the Institute

The Rhode Island Farm and Sea to School (RIFS2S) Institute is a year-long professional development opportunity that brings together K-12 and early care education administrators, child nutrition professionals, and teachers to build relationships, skills, and a collaborative action plan for their schools. The Institute is a supportive space for all RI school communities that is fun, practical, and celebrates what’s unique about their school!


The program begins with a two day in-person retreat at a Rhode Island location (TBD) for school-based teams in which they learn the core components of farm to school and begin to develop their unique farm to school action plan. Each selected team will be assigned a coach who will work alongside them throughout the year to help them continue to develop and implement their action plan.


The Institute will also provide opportunities for making helpful connections within their communities through a series of optional follow up events throughout the year that will be tailored to the most pressing needs of our Farm to School Network. These follow up workshops will provide additional technical assistance around the three “C’s” of Farm to School; Cafeteria (e.g. serving local foods in the school meals), Classroom (e.g. learning about food in class or having a school garden), and Community (e.g. connecting with local farmers). When farm to school activities are occurring in each of these three areas in a strategic and connected way . . . that’s when the real farm to school magic happens


After each team has completed their Institute Year, they will have developed an exciting Farm and Sea to School Action Plan, and will be connected to the statewide Farm to School Network for ongoing technical capacity building, training, and support. 

Benefits of Participation

  • Build your skills: the Institute helps build capacity for and understanding of farm to school principles with engaging, hands-on workshops and technical assistance. 
  • Build a whole-school team: develop strong cross-departmental relationships that enable classroom teachers, administrators, and child nutrition staff to build shared leadership and capacity for long term sustainability of your farm to school programs.
  • Collaborate with your coach: your Institute team will receive a year of coaching from a local food system professional to help you implement your action plan and collaborate on any emerging needs.Your coach will provide trusted guidance throughout the year as your farm to school action plan takes shape.
  • Create an action plan: Develop a values-based, school-wide farm to school action plan that integrates curriculum, local purchasing, youth voice, and family and community connections.
  • Grow your connections: build valuable relationships with experienced practitioners in the RI Farm and Sea to School Network and your local food system heroes. Network with other teams and like-minded community partners who can provide support, resources, and inspiration.
  • Activate your vision: each Institute team that completes an action plan is eligible for a mini grant ($2500) to start implementation right away.

The cost per school team to attend the Institute is $400. The financial value of the services and resources provided through the Institute Year is over $5,000. Scholarships may be available, please indicate on your application if you’d like to learn more about this!


Spring 2024: All team members review program materials prior to the in person summer retreat to prepare for the exciting work ahead. Your team will join a virtual orientation call with your fellow Institute cohort teams and their coaches to prepare for the retreat (Time Commitment = 3 to 5 hours)

Summer 2024: Attend our 2-day summer kickoff retreat in late June hosted in person in Rhode Island to engage in hands-on learning, dive into farm to school action planning, and grow the collective impact of your team. (Time Commitment = 2 days in person at Retreat + 2 hours to discuss Action plan)

Fall–Winter 2024–2025: Meet regularly throughout the school year with your coach as you implement your action plan; participate in an Institute-wide, mid-year check-in; attend optional follow on workshops to continue building your team’s farm to school skills. (Time Commitment = flexible depending on team’s wishes but approx 1 hour a month for team meetings is recommended)

Spring 2025: Prepare a year two action plan with your coach and regroup with your cohort to share your progress and reflections in a year-end in person gathering, May 2025. Submit your action plan to apply for a mini-grant to kickstart your farm to school success! (Time Commitment = team meeting time + 2 hr for in person gathering)

Building a Team

Your farm to school team is the most critical part of your farm to school program! School Teams must be composed of 4–6 individuals representing various areas of your school and community. At minimum, teams must have representation from the three following roles: administration, teachers, and school nutrition/food service. Additional members can include: family members, local farmers, students, community partners, school nurse and other staff, wellness committee members, school board, etc. 


We encourage and seek diverse teams that include members of different racial and gender identities, experience levels, and program roles. We will be looking to select at least 50% of our teams from districts that participate in the Community Eligibility Provision.

Application Details

****Applications for the 2024-2025 Institute have closed, but we are happy to speak to you anytime about the program and help you prepare for next year’s Institute! Click here to get in touch with us.****

Kickoff Retreat for 2024-2025 Institute Teams at URI Bay Campus - June 2024

Get to Know the Institute & Additional Information

The RI Farm & Sea to School Institute is hosted by the RI Farm to School Network with support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Vermont FEED


We are grateful to our state and community partners for their additional support and guidance: 

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RI Farm to School Network