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Make the "Best of Fresh" with Farm to School

Presented by Carol Chong, National Nutrition Advisor, Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Program and Christina Conell, Program Analyst USDA

Almost anything can be purchased locally in different parts of the country. Local purchasing is not just about fresh fruits and vegetables, and it is not just about farmers. Local products can come from local farmers, ranchers, fishers, food processors and distributors of all sizes.

For many school districts, fresh fruits and vegetables are a logical starting place for local procurement. Fresh fruits are especially easy because many can be served with little to no preparation beyond washing.

More comprehensive local buying programs incorporate local products in all of the food categories. Many schools, for example, adjust existing recipes and menus to accommodate local products (e.g. replacing beef with local bison in Montana or barley with local rice in California). Schools will often develop entirely new recipes and menus based on local products and local food traditions.

Learning Objectives:

  • Defining local and where to find local foods
  • Procurement principles and regulations
  •  Local can span the school meal tray

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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