From kindergarten to college, interest in serving locally grown foods in cafeterias is increasing in Massachusetts and throughout the U.S. Farm to school is a win-win effort. School food service directors can improve the nutritional value and taste of school meals while also supporting the local economy. Farmers selling locally-grown products to schools and earn a profit while finding new ways to connect with local consumers.
Massachusetts Farm to School Project LLC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting Massachusetts farmers and institutions to improve access to locally grown foods and strengthen our agricultural economy. MDAR provides support to Mass. Farm to School Project’s technical assistance efforts to promote farm to school statewide.
In MA Farm to School Project’s last survey of farm to school participants, there were 320 public school districts, private schools, and colleges in the Commonwealth preferentially serving local foods, over half of which have received assistance from the Mass. Farm to School Project. About 114 farms sold their products directly to schools across the state. Mass. Farm to School Project focuses on facilitating sustainable procurement relationships - local foods arriving regularly at the loading dock of institutions - between farms and schools. We are also increasingly committed to promoting all aspects of farm to school-related experiences through our promotional programs such as Harvest for Students Week and Harvest of the Month and through our Farm to School Network.
To learn more, visit the Mass. Farm to School Project's website.
Harvest of the Month
Harvest of the Month promotes a different Massachusetts-grown crop each month in school cafeterias across the state. Mass. Farm to School Project provides participating schools with procurement assistance, free display materials, and links to resources that connect the cafeteria to the classroom and community. Find more info here.
Massachusetts Farm to School Network
The Network is open to all farm to school advocates, practitioners, and programs across the state. It offers learning opportunities and improves communication between the rich diversity of farm to school practitioners. The Network helps us find the resources and connections we need to create integrated farm to school programs: programs that bridge the cafeteria, classroom, and community environments. More info here.
The “DoD Fresh” Program: Understanding and Adapting a System to Respond to the Demand for Locally-Grown Foods in New England