Farm and Food
Nebraska schools source local foods in a variety of ways:
- Using fresh produce from school gardens and greenhouses in the school lunch and snack programs.
- 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.
- Ordering through a food hub that can coordinate purchases from multiple producers in one sale.
- Attending farmers markets to make purchases and establish future connections.
- Working with local meat, grain, or vegetable processors for purchasing local items after processing.
- Using local grocery or food cooperatives who help find local foods for schools and coordinate purchases.
- Using “geographic preference” to target local purchases when ordering through broadline food service distributors.
- Utilizing federal programs like USDA Foods and Department of Defense Fresh. Producers sell into these programs by becoming a USDA vendor.
- Accepting local meat donations from the community, ranchers, or students involved in agriculture education programs like 4-H.