By working with local school systems, farmers have the opportunity to:
However, working with school systems can sometimes be a daunting and challenging task. Use the resources found below and elsewhere on the site to make the task as straightforward and enjoyable as possible.
Farmers who want to sell locally grown produce directly to schools should take note of how produce is bought and distributed to schools in Maryland. Some schools are willing to buy directly from farmers; others are not. Most mid-size and large school districts buy their produce from wholesale distributors who make regular deliveries of a wide variety of seasonal and non-seasonal items. The majority of these items are likely imported from out of state. Food service directors place orders through these vendors by phone, fax or email on a regular basis. If the product received is not what was ordered, or is in an unsatisfactory condition, the distributor bears the burden of resolving discrepancies with the shipper or grower. Since some food service directors may be reluctant to experiment with purchasing directly from farmers, it may be best to start by approaching smaller school systems. They often have more flexibility in purchasing and distribution.
Other publications specifically addressing farm-to-school topics of concern to farmers:ATTRA – National. Sustainable Agriculture Information Service PO Box 3657, Fayetteville, AR 72702. 1(800)346-9140. Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions: A Resource Guide for Farm-to-School and Farm- to-Institution Programs. Community Food Security CoalitionDoD Farm-to-School Program – Frequently Asked Questions USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service, Marketing Services Branch1400 Independence Ave., SW., Room 2646 - S, Stop 0269, Washington, DC 20250-0269. (202) 720-8317.How Local Farmers and School Food Service Buyers Are Building Alliances Adapted with permission from: Chris Kirby is the Oklahoma farm-to-school coordinator. She works to promote the program and connect farmers and schools. She can be reached at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, (405) 522-2106 firstname.lastname@example.org
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