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.
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.
- Procuring Local Foods, USDA-FNS
- Local Food for Little Eaters: A Purchasing Toolbox for the Child and Adult Care Food Program; Center for Regional Food Systems, Michigan State University
Recipes for School Food Services Programs:
- Searchable Database of Recipes and Cycle Menus; The Lunch Box, Chef Ann Foundation
- Home Grown: Menus of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
- Farm to School Youth Leadership Curriculum, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
“Better quality, knowing where exactly the food comes from and who that person is means a lot.”
“Fresh garden carrots are more work for the staff, students do appreciate the flavor over the 'purchase' product.”