Meet Farmer Mike Tabor, School-Food Activist

Farmer Mike Tabor of Licking Creek Bend Farm in Needmore, PA, is an activist who decided to get his hands dirty. Really dirty.

Long before Mike set foot on a farm, he had devoted himself to such causes as the civil-rights movement and antiwar organizing. Then, in 1972, he decided to turn to farming as a way to provide “delicious and nutritious food at an affordable price.” This move towards fresh food eventually led him to the world of “farm to cafeteria” legislation.

It all began about 20 years ago, when he and some fellow activists started going to school cafeterias and eating there. “We said, ‘this is the worst food we’ve ever eaten,’” he recalled.

His experiences in the public school cafeterias then led him to question, “Why is it that the worst food gets relegated to children, who we theoretically have a commitment to? There’s a disconnect! … But,” he continued explaining, “when I said it, people didn’t know what I was talking about. They’d say, “Healthier food in public schools? Local food in public schools? What are you talking about??”

Mike is grateful for the work Michelle Obama has done through her Let’s Move! campaign, and the impact it’s had on this issue nationwide. “Now with Michelle Obama, this is probably the closest thing I get in my life to a success story. Something I’ve worked on for a long time that seems to have made an impact,” he says.

Mike has now been farming organically for 39 years and remains very socially active. On Licking Creek’s 60 acres he grows a variety of produce, including heirloom tomatoes, squashes, and apples. Licking Creek is a Bon Appétit Farm to Fork Partner, and Goucher College is proud to buy Mike’s produce.

Mike Tabor with his team.