In the 2009-10 school year, Ohio schools spent over $52 million dollars on fruit and vegetables for school lunches. Schools are a reliable market, and developing relationships with school leaders, food service personnel, parents and students offers an opportunity for economic stability for Ohio farmers.
Interested in engaging with schools?
- Engaging with Schools for Producers and Food Businesses
- Consider this Farmer Self-Assessment tool from Michigan’s farm to school team to help you determine your interest and ability to sell to schools.
School districts interested in buying local foods can specify geographic preference in school food bids. There are many ways for farmers to find and connect with interested school districts:
- Directly communicate with food service staff
- Provide one or more local food items featured in the cafeteria
- Connect with schools at local farmers’ markets
- Talk with your county extension office for help finding a farmers’ cooperative or other organized structure that allows multiple farmers to share transportation and administrative costs
- Find a wholesale distributor participating in Farm to School
- Participate in the Department of Defense’s fresh fruit and vegetable program which delivers local food to schools