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Farm To School

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Farm To School

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The landscape of food on children’s plates here in Nebraska is rapidly transpiring into healthy and delicious bites.

Farm to School is a natural fit for Nebraska’s rich history in agriculture. The term “Farm to School” refers to schools serving local, farm-fresh foods. This can range from fruits and vegetables to eggs and honey to meat. Often schools incorporate curriculums built around nutrition, agriculture, and science. Doing this creates learning opportunities based on experience, like farm visits, gardening, recycling, and entrepreneurial programs.

The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) founded in 2007, sprouted from the desire to support community-based food systems, strengthen family farms, and improve student health. NFSN was launched by a collaboration of more than 30 organizations seeking to shape the burgeoning farm to school movement, which has grown from a handful of schools in the late 1990s to approximately 38,000 schools in all 50 states today.

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act tasked USDA with supporting farm to school efforts through grants, training, technical assistance, and research. To date, the USDA Farm to School Grant program has funded 221 farm to school projects, totaling $15.1 million.

The USDA Farm to School Program is operated by the Department’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), which has seven regional offices around the country; in each is a Farm to School Regional Lead who is available to provide farm to school related support to state agencies and other entities in their region. For more information refer to the following website: www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/farm-school.

Last fall I attended a Nebraska Farm to School summit in Aurora at the Center for Rural Affairs. The presentations gave me a good insight to how the process works, including procurement practices, the sanitation requirements that were a priority for the grower as well as the use end facility. The best part was the round table which gave the food service directors and farmers an opportunity to interact and meet each other. I connected with an edible farmer who was just starting his vegetable farm. Gary, got the ball rolling for me, we visited about usage and the how-too’s. It has been a great start to some great products.

The Nebraska Food Cooperative (NFC) brings together producers and consumers who care about the land, share an enjoyment of simple food and seek equitable relationships. NFC is a marketing and distribution service designed to improve market access for farmer producers and local food access for consumers.

Producers across Nebraska grow fresh food and list it on the NebraskaFood.org website. Customers can read about each producer’s growing practices in regard to chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, etc. and judge for themselves the best products for their family or school. Products range from natural and organic meats, eggs, artisan cheeses, fruit, herbs, breads, coffees, grains, jams/jellies, personal care

products, and all types of vegetables –really anything that is Nebraska raised or grown with foremost attention to its healthy nutritious aspects.Inserted Image

The NFC website is open every other week for member customers to order directly from Nebraska producers. Wholesale buyers (restaurants, small grocery stores, schools, hospitals, etc) can also select from over 800 Nebraska local products.

The ability to order from Wednesday through Sunday, in the comfort of your own home attracts many followers. Customers can contact producers by email with questions or attach a specific message to an ordered product.

Invoices are prepared after the order cycle “closes” at 3 pm on Sunday. Producers then fill your order according to your specific needs,

I started ordering products last spring and will continue this fall as long as the frost holds off.

The produce is spectacular, nothing you see in an ordinary grocery store and it helps build the Nebraska economy.

Take a look at the website for more information.

 

 


 

   
Tini Van-Oehlertz, Food Service Director        Inserted ImageOffice Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.         Phone: 402-488-0931 EXT. 10154

 tini.van-oehlertz@piusx.net

 

Pius X • 6000 A St. • Lincoln, NE 68510 • 402-488-0931 • Fax: 402-488-1061

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