Skip to main content

School Purchasing Guide and Menu Planning

Originally written by Jennifer Folliard, former SDSU Extension Family & Community Health Field Specialist.

Getting started with implementing farm to school can be challenging and can bring on many questions. A big question that many schools have is, Why Local? Local products are often fresher, last longer, provide less waste, and have more vibrant colors and flavors. This is not the only question and answer to starting with farm to school, but it is a good place to start. Once those initial questions are looked at then your school can go into planning menus and finding avenues to source local foods. Then making sure that procurement and food safety best practices are a high priority. Then make sure to market and share your success with farm to school in the community.

USDA Decision Tree: How Will You Bring Local Foods into the Cafeteria with Your Next Food Purchase? For a complete description, view page 18 of the South Dakota Farm to School Resource Guide of the guide at:


There are many resources that you can turn to when getting started on building your menu and procuring the local produce for your school. Here are just a few resources that can help you get started and for more information look at the South Dakota Farm to School Resource Guide for a more in-depth look.


Recipes for School Food Services Programs:

for Students:

“Better quality, knowing where exactly the food comes from and who that person is means a lot.”

— Wessington Springs F2S Program

“Fresh garden carrots are more work for the staff, students do appreciate the flavor over the 'purchase' product.”

— Aberdeen F2S Program