A Nebraska Thursdays Story: Overton Public Schools

Farm and Food
Small Towns
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26 to 50% of food is made from scratch. Overton Public Schools hopes to increase this percentage in the upcoming years.

School spotlight

Food service director: Brenda Buchholz

Regional location: Central Nebraska

Number of students: 293

Number of feeding sites: 1

Number of food service staff: 5

“Local” defined as: Produced within Nebraska

How we got started

“Several years ago, I passed a greenhouse/farmers market farm off the highway going to Lexington. It was owned by a family whose children go to our school. One day, I talked to the mother about purchasing some of their fresh produce, and the rest is history.”

Impact of bringing local foods to menu

“I have purchased some new equipment to help with processing. And, some additional training for kitchen staff and students concerning the school garden.”

Community partnerships

“Plum Creek Market Place, in Lexington, along with their produce manager have been instrumental in helping us locate local sources over the years. Recently, they helped us purchase tortillas from a local bakery with limited hours and where language was a barrier. Without this joint effort, we wouldn’t have some of these items on our menus.”

Where we purchase

“We purchase from Plum Creek Market Place most often. We also use the school garden and school food distributor.”

Did you do anything unique to promote Nebraska Thursdays?

“Nebraska Thursdays were promoted on our Facebook page.”

Favorite local food to use on the menus

“Favorites are tortillas, watermelon, and tomatoes for their freshness.”

How much time does it take?

“It takes probably three to four hours per week purchasing, preparing, and promoting local food. Sometimes, I feel like a private detective following leads on local foods.”

Our successes this year

“Being able to serve a variety of freshly grown fruits and veggies, and starting our own school garden. Our future plan is to have our own greenhouse.”

Goal for next year

“The goal is to start using more local producers via farmers markets.”