Developing resources to help Virginia food producers sell and distribute products through the farm to school program

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Virginia Tech

Encouraging procurement of food via Farm to School programs has become an emphasis of many schools throughout our nation and state. Farm to school produce/products benefits children and communities in many different ways. Contact between farmers and school management needs to be fostered and nurtured to be successful and provide the students with the freshest and safest product possible. School divisions often need a starting point to begin the process of procurement between the local farmer and the school nutrition department. Development of a checklist and other tools for farmers and school division nutrition managers/cafeteria managers to use when gaining access to fresh local produce may be beneficial for school nutrition departments trying to start a farm to school program. This project developed a checklist and fact sheets to lead and guide school nutrition directors and producers seeking to increase purchases and consumption throughout the state of Virginia. Farm to school is a vital program and allows farmers to reach markets that may have been untouched in the past. We are excited to share our resources and information with educators, farmers, and nutrition directors as well as our colleagues in extension.