A Nebraska Thursdays Story: Omaha Public Schools


11 to 25% of food is made from scratch. Omaha Public Schools has a goal of increasing this number to 26 to 50% in the secondary schools. 

School spotlight

Food service director: Tamara Yarmon

Regional location: Eastern Nebraska

Number of students: 52,000

Number of feeding sites: 93

Meal participation rate: 77%

Number of food service staff: 500

“Local” defined as: Produced within a 240 mile radius from its district office

How we got started

“We have a strong belief in providing foods which are produced by local farmers. The food is fresh, colorful, and supports the local economy.” -Tamara Yarmon

Successes and goals for next year

“A success this year was increasing local meat purchases. My goal for next year is to continue to bring more local products to the menus.” -Tamara Yarmon

Community partnerships

“The most important community partners are the farm and food businesses we purchase from most often. They are helping us to make it all happen.” -Tamara Yarmon

Additional time needed?

“Additional prep time depends on the time of the year. We have been doing this for awhile – it becomes automatic and doesn’t require as much time.” -Tamara Yarmon

Where we purchase

  • Smart Chicken (Tecumseh, Nebraska),
  • Rotella’s Bakery (La Vista, Nebraska),
  • Farm Fresh (O’Neill, Nebraska),
  • Pekarak’s Produce (Dwight, Nebraska),
  • A&T Farms (Yutan, Nebraska),
  • Daniel’s Produce (Columbus, Nebraska),
  • Heldt Farms (Ashland, Nebraska),
  • International Spices (Fremont, Nebraska),
  • Small’s Fruit Farms (Mondamin, Iowa),
  • Union Orchard (Union, Nebraska), and
  • Various school food distributors.

Favorite local food to use on the menus

“I don’t have a ‘favorite’ – I love them ALL!” -Tamara Yarmon

Did you do anything unique to promote Nebraska Thursdays?

“Everyone wore red Nebraska shirts on Nebraska Thursday lunch day.” -Tamara Yarmon

Favorite local meal

“The favorite is chicken drummies in ranch, spicy, and barbeque.” -Tamara Yarmon