Farm to School program expanded to serve more students
ST. PAUL — More funding for the state’s Farm to School program will provide fair food prices for growers, and will connect farmers to more consumers, said Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union.
“Minnesota’s Farm to School program provides a venue for family farmers to feed their community and is a win-win-win,” said Wertish. “The program is a great way to connect family farmers to consumers through their food and it provides a local market for local growers. The program also helps farmers earn a fair price for their products.”
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced it has signed a $3.5 million cooperative agreement with Minnesota to increase its purchase of local foods for school meal programs.
Through the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will purchase and distribute local and regional foods and beverages for schools to serve children through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.
“This cooperative agreement supporting Minnesota’s schools is another example of how USDA is working to build a more resilient food system rooted in local and regional production,” said Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “The Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program provides an opportunity for states to strengthen ties between local farmers, ranchers, food businesses and schools, and gives students access to nutritious foods unique to the area they live in, building stronger connections across local communities.”
These latest developments in the Farm to School initiative opens access to more schools, said Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Thom Petersen.
“This cooperative agreement will build on the strong foundation we’ve laid in Minnesota with a growing network of partners in our Farm to School efforts,” Petersen said. “More Minnesota schools will have access to reimbursement grants to support local purchasing, which will strengthen our state’s local and regional markets, support small and emerging farmers, and ensure our kids are eating the freshest, most nutritious food our state can offer.”