Calling all Colorado producers! Check out this Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Grower’s Lunch and Learn archived webinar. The Colorado Farm to School Task Force has two grant programs underway to support agricultural producers who want are interested in selling to schools. Learn how the school food marketplace can fit into your business plan and how the resources of the Task Force will help you enter into it.
A few of the facts you’ll learn in this webinar:
- Farm to school in Colorado is grant funded; not funded by the state of Colorado
- The benefits of FTS are many and include:
- Kids win through eating more nutritious fresh food and developing life-long healthy eating habits
- Farmers win through expanding their markets, free advertising/name recognition, and feeling good about feeding the kids of their community
- Communities win with more connections made between growers and eaters and a better local economy through local spending and additional jobs
- In 2015, Colorado school districts spent $18 million dollars on local food. And that is only 4% of the total Colorado school food expenditures!
- 58% of Colorado school districts have farm to school programs
- Top barriers and opportunities:
- Schools have tight budgets which can make it more difficult to afford local produce; however, schools buy in high volumes, which helps offset the lower per unit price they can pay.
- Schools will buy “seconds” as most fruit and vegetables are processed in some way for fresh or cooked uses
- Schools are a stable marketplace. Producers can rely upon and predict sales from year to year.
- Seasonality is not a problem. Summer school meal programs overlap with the harvest season. Spring crops and fall crops are all in high demand by school food services.