Farm to School Efforts Double in Minnesota
Demand from students, farmers and schools grows for farm to school programs
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn – March 9 – The number of Minnesota school districts purchasing fresh food from local farms has more than doubled in the last 15 months, according to a survey released today by the Minnesota School Nutrition Association (MSNA) and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).
Farm to school programs link school children with local farmers and farm products, including fruits and vegetables, meat, grains and other items. Farm to school provides fresh, healthy food choices, helps children develop healthy eating habits and supports small and mid-size farmers.
The survey gathered input from MSNA’s membership, which includes foodservice professionals from nearly 100 public school districts serving approximately 550,000 K-12 students across the state. Sixty-nine districts reported purchasing Minnesota-grown products in 2009, more than double the figure from late 2008. Further, 77 percent of the districts now involved with farm to school initiatives expect to expand their activities in the upcoming school year, a sign that these programs are taking root and growing.