On December 2, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced grants that support the USDA’s efforts to connect school cafeterias with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School Program. Of the 82 grants, Foods4Local Schools in Mancos, Colorado was one of the selected projects. The Foods4Local Schools project serves a rural area consisting of Montezuma and La Plata counties, including two reservations. The project will develop a new model for school-based production through hiring of a school production manager and production coordinator to cultivate a farm plot on school district property; support the development of a producer cooperative regional aggregation and distribution system to create a sustainable infrastructure to support procurement of local foods in local schools and beyond; provide training and technical assistance to school districts and producers to build their capacity to engage in institutional bidding and procurement activities; and engage students in experiential education farm, garden and nutrition activities. Congratulations to Foods4Local Schools!
- Farm-to-School Coordination Task Force Duties:
- Creating or expanding Farm-to-School pilot programs
- Identifying funding sources and grants that allow school districts to recover costs from purchasing locally grown foods
- Identifying, designing, or making available training programs to enable local farmers and ranchers to market their products to school districts
- Advising school districts on the methods by which they may improve their facilities to allow for the purchase and use of locally produced foods in school meals
- Providing assistance to school food services to establish procedures, recipes, menu rotation, proper handling, and storing to accommodate the use of locally grown foods in public schools.
- Districts Participating in the Task Force:
- Denver Public Schools
- Durango 9-R
- Univeristy of Colorado - Boulder
- Weld 6, Greeley
- Colorado Task Force: Road Map
- Colorado Farm to School Task Force 2014 Update
- Colorado Farm to School Task Force 2013 Legislative Report (pdf)
- Colorado Farm-to-School
- Colorado Proud Fun Facts
- Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs Guide
- Food Safety from Farm and Garden to Preschool (UMassAmherst)
- Farm to School Bid Template
- Farm to School Fact Sheets
- Map of Schools Utilizing Farm-to-School
- Farm-to-School Policy Memos
- USDA Farm-to-School
USDA Farm to School Census
- The USDA Farm to School Census results are now posted online http://www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/census#. According to USDA’s first-ever Farm to School Census, 43% of public school districts across the country have an existing farm to school program in place, while another 13% of school districts surveyed are committed to launching a farm to school program in the near future. In school year 2011-2012, schools purchased and served over $350 million in local food, and 56% of the districts buying local foods report that they will buy even more local foods in future school years.
- Senate Bill 10-081, in recognition of the need to encourage the eating of fresh and nutritious local foods, the fostering of relationships among farmers and schools, and the promotion of the sale of agricultural products, establishes the Farm-to-School Program. This bill also allows for the creation of a Farm-to-School Coordination Task Force.
- House Bill 1307
- Under HB 1307, governmental bodies purchasing agricultural products are allowed to preference Colorado products over out of state products as long as the quality is equal, the Colorado producer is able to meet requested quantity, and price is either lower than the lowest out of state bid, or "reasonably exceeds" the lowest bid.
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