Local beef, produce dished up at Litchfield Public Schools
Litchfield, Neb. - Students at Litchfield Public Schools not only have the opportunity to eat beef raised by local producers, but also fruits and vegetables they help grow and harvest.
“Farm to School is easily customizable for any size school,” said Bailey. “It is a one size fits all program.”
Janice Reynolds, Litchfield Public Schools food service manager, currently serves raw school-grown produce through the school meal and snack programs. The produce is raised in a school greenhouse, started and maintained by Trotter Fertilizer with the help of Litchfield Public Schools’ fifth and sixth grade students.
Litchfield Public Schools has been working with Center for Rural Affairs on farm to school programming since 2014. The school joined the Center’s Farm to School pilot program at that time, already working directly with a local farmer to purchase fresh produce for the school cafeteria. In January 2015, Litchfield’s greenhouse funded by Trotter Fertilizer came to life providing a variety of produce to the school lunch program.
The Center for Rural Affairs leads farm to school programs in Nebraska, working with the National Farm to School program. Staff are available to assist schools, linking them to producers. The organization has held several Farm to School trainings throughout the state and developed materials available to schools, farmers and communities at cfra.org/f2s.
In Nebraska, 29 percent of schools report participating in farm to school activities, including sourcing food locally, growing food in a school garden, and learning about food and agriculture in the classroom. That’s 71 districts with 458 schools and at least 188,637 students, according to the USDA farm to school census. An additional 13 percent of Nebraska schools plan to start farm to school activities in the future.