‘Bringing the farm to school’ producer training focuses on increasing local food sales

 Litchfield Public Schools

Litchfield Public Schools students in the greenhouse. Photo courtesy of greenhouse manager, Gary Lawrence.
February 4, 2022

Lincoln, Neb. —Farmers, ranchers and local food procesors can learn strategies or growing and selling their products to school district at the Bringing the Farm to School: Local Producer Training March 3 in Omaha hosted by the Nebraska Department of Education. 

“When area farmers sell their products to schools, everyone wins,” said Sarah Smith, Farm to School Coordinator for the Nebraska Department of Education.  

“Farmers have a reliable market, dollars get recirculated in the community, and, most importantly, students get to enjoy local, fresh, nutritious, and delicious food,” Smith said.  

The training will be held at the Douglas-Sarpy Counties Extension Office on March 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To register, visit www.education.ne.gov/ns/farm-to-school/ or contact Sarah Smith, Farm to School Specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education, 402-525-3128 or sarah.e.smith@nebraska.gov. 

 Producers that attend this training will:  

  • Learn about accessing school markets and growing products for schools; 
  • Hear from producers that have successfully navigated school markets; 
  • Gain new knowledge and resources for integrating school markets into a business plan; 
  • Meet local peers and experts, and participate in a question-answer session.  
Schools offer a strong market opportunity for local producers. More than 30 million students enjoy meals at school through the National School Lunch Program each day, and according to a USDA Farm to School Census, schools across the country purchased more than $789 million in local foods during the 2013-2014 school year -- a total that has continued to increase. At the state level, 553 Nebraska schools serving 235,367 students participate in Farm to School efforts. Farm to School is gaining momentum in Nebraska with more schools and producers partnering every year.  
 The development of this training was funded at least in part with federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service through an agreement with the National Center for Appropriate Technology in partnership with the National Farm to School Network.  

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