As of May 23, 2011, schools (and other providers) may give preference to locally grown and locally raised agricultural products for the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast, Special Milk, Child and Adult Care, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable, and Summer Food Service programs. The rule is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This rule gives a competitive boost to local producers. Another good reason to get your operation listed on Colorado Market Maker and tagged as wanting to sell to schools as well as listing yourself in other local food sourcing directories.
Oklahoma Farm to School has collected a helpful set of season extension resources, including that by ATTRA Sustainable Agricultural Program’s “Season Extension Techniques for Market Gardeners” as well as and sources for equipment, supplies, and further information.
A National Public Radio story, March 21, 2011, show cases Zach Lester, a farmer outside Washington, DC, who sells fresh greens year round at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market. Zach uses high hoop houses to grow through the winter months.
This online resource was formed to assist schools in starting or expanding their Farm to School activities; assist in the communication between farmers and schools; share information about Farm to School activities across the Nation; and keep you informed of the legislative and regulatory changes that influence Farm to School activities. Below are a few highlights of new resources:
Information resources for Farm to School activities are underrepresented in the formally published academic literature. Most materials exist as informal papers and research reports on individual organizational Web sites or as articles in regional/local news, trade and popular publications. This bibliography pulls together many substantial materials on Farm to School efforts across the United States. Some citations include links to full-text documents; most do not; or only provide links to publisher Web sites.
In conjunction with the conference, USDA released the 2010 Farm to School Report, an analysis by USDA’s Farm to School team of 15 school district’s farm to school programs across the country. Team members worked with these school districts and other professionals in the field to better understand resources, challenges, and potential for USDA support in successful farm to school programs.
This guide provides farmers, school administrators, and institutional food service planners with contact information and descriptions of existing programs that have made connections between local farmers and local school lunchrooms, college dining halls, or cafeterias in other institutions. (Barbara C. Bellows, Rex Dufour, and Janet Bachmann)
This manual provides information and useful tools for farmers and food service directors interested in Farm to School program participation. Especially innovative are two templates: FTS Distribution Cost Template and a Produce Calculator.