How are Nebraska Schools Sourcing Local Foods?


Nebraska schools source local foods in a variety of ways:

  1. Using fresh produce from school gardens and greenhouses in the school lunch and snack programs.
  2. Making purchases directly from farms, either by purchases under the micro-purchase threshold of $10,000, or putting out a competitive bid request for contracts with farmers.
  3. Ordering through a food hub that can coordinate purchases from multiple producers in one sale.
  4. Attending farmers markets to make purchases and establish future connections.
  5. Working with local meat, grain, or vegetable processors for purchasing local items after processing.
  6. Using local grocery or food cooperatives who help find local foods for schools and coordinate purchases.
  7. Using “geographic preference” to target local purchases when ordering through broadline food service distributors.
  8. Utilizing federal programs like USDA Foods and Department of Defense Fresh. Producers sell into these programs by becoming a USDA vendor.
  9. Accepting local meat donations from the community, ranchers, or students involved in agriculture education programs like 4-H.