A Nebraska Thursdays Story: Litchfield Public Schools

Farm and Food
Small Towns
Click the image to download.
51 to 75% of food is made from scratch. Litchfield Public Schools has a goal of increasing this number to 75 to 100% in the future.

School spotlight

Food service director: Janice Reynolds

Regional location: Central Nebraska

Number of students: 120

Number of feeding sites: 1

Meal participation rate: >95%

“Local” defined as: Within a 100 mile radius

How we got started

“The school has always purchased local, in-season produce. We started a school garden seven years ago to get the students involved and provide fresh produce. In 2014, Trotter’s Fertilizer collaborated with us to start a greenhouse for the lunch program and education for the students. This includes a large, year-round greenhouse and several acres outside.” -Janice Reynolds

Community partnerships

“The Trotter’s Fertilizer​ greenhouse is our most important partner. The FFA has been instrumental in working with the greenhouse and heading up our beef and pork programs. Full Circle Irrigation and local farmers also support our programs.” -Janice Reynolds

Where we purchase

“Our food comes from the greenhouse, producers, and farmers markets. We also purchase from distributors and USDA Department of Defense Fresh Program vendors.” -Janice Reynolds

Additional training

“We provide more training for processing raw produce to be used immediately and also how to process and store produce to be used later in the year. We also provide training on how to handle, cook, and cool raw meats.” -Janice Reynolds

Favorite local foods to use

“Beef and pork make the best quality and most nutritious meals, and the students love them. They enjoy real mashed potatoes, and many are only served instant potatoes at home. We offer melons several times a week, until Thanksgiving, and receive cherry tomatoes throughout the year.” -Janice Reynolds

Greenhouse helps with scratch cooking

“We freeze and store extra produce to use throughout the school year. We receive fresh potatoes all year for mashed potatoes. Since the students help take care of the produce, they love the variety and are willing to try everything. We receive a large variety of produce from the greenhouse such as:

  • carrots,
  • cucumbers,
  • green beans,
  • corn on the cob,
  • beets,
  • onions,
  • colored peppers,
  • potatoes,
  • sweet potatoes,
  • pumpkin,
  • different squash,
  • kohlrabi,
  • radishes,
  • lettuce,
  • spinach,
  • swiss chard,
  • watermelon,
  • cantaloupe,
  • honeydew, and
  • others.” -Janice Reynolds