Due to COVID-19, local foods have become a buzzword. More farmers are utilizing direct to consumer marketing strategies to reach customers through online sales, community-supported agriculture (CSAs), and farmers markets. Is there room for schools in these markets? Farm to School can be concentrated in the procurement of local foods for the cafeteria as well as in outdoor and agriculture education programs.
- In October, schools are encouraged to take part in a regional “Crunch Competition,” a contest that measures the amount of crunches into local fruits and vegetables per school in each state in a single day.
- Nebraska Thursdays encourage schools to begin serving locally sourced meals on just the first Thursday of the month.
- Schools make local purchases using geographic preferences and establishing contacts through local farmers markets, food hubs, and distributors.
- The Center for Rural Affairs started the Greenhouse to Cafeteria program to assist rural schools in revamping greenhouses and enriching their programs.
- Outdoor education programs and FFA offer technical skills and teach kids where their food comes from.
- Harvest of the month promotes the sampling and use of a different Nebraska specialty crop each month of the school year.
*This is what’s happening in Nebraska, and can be a great example for what can occur in your state.