The Gillings Sustainable Agriculture Project: A Gillings Innovative Laboratory


Bringing Produce Grown by Local Farmers into the School Cafeteria and the Benefits

By Marvin McCorvey

Nutrition 245, Spring 2012

Lately there has been a major push to get healthier foods into schools. Why is this so important?

It is important because child hood obesity is at an all time high and that students eat a great amount of meals at school.

Did you know that from K-12 grades the average student eats about 4000 meals.  More than 31.5 million children in America participate in school lunch.  Also children eat 40% of their empty calories at school alone.  This includes cookie, chips, sodas and more. (Stone, rethinking school lunch)

  

A Little Help From The First Lady Never Hurts

There were also new standards set for meals by the Obama Administration.  There was a calorie limit set.  The minimum mandate for fruits and vegetables was doubled.  Whole grains, dark-leafy greens, and other vegetables will be treated as staples. (undurraga)

How can this be done?

This can be accomplished through purchasing foods through local farms.  This way schools will be supplied with more fresh produce from nearby farmers.  This will cut down on transaction cost, because farmers will not have to ship their produces to states across the nation. (Tropp)

How can you help?

There is power in numbers. If you feel in your community a change could be made to benefit your schools and local farmers, call a town meeting. Get in touch with the farmers. Have more and more meetings, follow up with everyone and before you know it, you will have sparked a revolution in your town. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

Annotated Bibliography 

www.ncfarmtoschool.com (October 6 2011). North Carolina Farm to School Program. Site Visited April 7 2012

This website focuses on North Carolina and local farmers who supply the schools with fruits and vegetables.  The NC farm to school program was founded in 1997.  However,   Local farmers supplied schools with foods from seedless watermelons and strawberries all the way to one of the biggest states produce the sweet potato.  This website not only informs you of how the program works but it also offers a wide variety of information.  It has nutritional facts on the foods that are supplied.  On top of that it has a recipe of the month section.  The program in my opinion is perfect for increasing nutritional awareness and getting kids started eating healthy while putting money back in North Carolina by supporting local farmers.

Kane, Deborah. Kruse, Sarah. Ratcliff, Michelle. Sobel,l Stacy. Tessman, Nell. http://www.ecotrust.org/farmtoschool/Kaiser-Report_FINAL_110630.pdf  The impact of 7 cents. Site visited April 7 2012

While this is article focuses on schools and local farms in Portland it is still very helpful.  The one thing it brings to light is how spending an extra 7 cents for school meals can make it so local farmers will want to sell them at a profitable price.  This will also provide more diversity in school lunches.  This will allow for healthier foods in the lunch room.  Another thing this article stated was how the schools in Portland because of this offered a harvest of the month focusing on one fruit or vegetable at a time and building different meals around that.

News Desk.  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/04/usda-rule-to-encourage-local-food-for-school-meals/ (April 29, 20011). USDA Rule to Encourage Local Food for School Meals. Site visited April 8 2012

This article tells how a new federal rule will give preference in contract bidding for school foods to local farm products.  This will not only break down many barriers local farmers run into but also be an economic boost for farmers.  This new buy local rule is also part of the farm to school program which will provide healthier school breakfasts and lunches.

Stone, Michael. Brown, Karen. Comnes, Leslie. Koulias, Jim. http://www.ecoliteracy.org/sites/default/files/uploads/rethinking_school_lunch_guide.pdf  Rethinking School Lunch. Site Visited April 8 2012

This article about rethinking the school lunch is very informative.  It speaks about 10 pathways that you can follow to change school lunch.  Also that this should be a priority because of the amount of school lunches a child eats in their time in school.  It states that this is more then we think it is an educational issue, public health issue, economic issue, and more.  This article also covers how much easier it has become to purchase produce from local farmers to make this transition to healthier lunch easier.

Undurraga, Dawn.http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2012/01/putting-real-food-in-school-lunches/ (January 2, 2012).  Putting Real Food in School Lunches. Site visited April 8 2012

This article covers how the standards for school meals are changing.  They are becoming better with more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.  The first lady Michelle Obama has led the way for this change.  This is because childhood obesity is high and almost half of the calories kids eat in a day are empty calories.  With help from local farms there will be healthier and more nutritious foods for school children.

Tropp, Debra. Dr.Olowolayemo, Surajudeen. http://agmarketing.extension.psu.edu/Wholesale/PDFs/LclFrmrSchlFdSrvBuyer.pdf (December 2000).  How local Farmers and School Food Services Buyers are Building Alliances.  Site visited April 8 2012

This paper informs how local farmers and school food service buyers are coming together.  It discovers the benefits to the producers and the schools.  Also by coming together with local farmers schools expand their food choices without sacrificing nutrition.  While this paper covers many of the benefits it also informs of the many issues farmers and schools run into.  There are many issues from affordability, delivery, procurement, and health and safety regulations.

Tuck, Brigid. Haynes, Monica. King, Robert. Pesch, Ryan. http://www.extension.umn.edu/projects/community/EconomicImpact/components/economic-impact-of-farm-to-school-programs-report.pdf (June 2010). The Impact of Farm to School Lunch Programs: A Central Minnesota Example. Site Visited April 8 2012

This article focuses on the economic impact that the farm to school program has.  It gives different causes and affects it may have on the economy.  It could increase jobs by buying produce from local farmers.  Or the increase prices of produce could make it harder for schools to cover costs.

 Hanson, james. http://agresearch.umd.edu/CANRP/Localfood/files/2011_UME_FS%20933.pdf(2011) Farm to School: Increasing Sales by Local Farmers for Healthier School Lunches and Higher Farm Income. Site visited April 8 2012

This article recognizes how schools have a limited budget so purchasing local foods can be a little hard.  It states that by purchasing from local farmers that is more nutritious.  Also that by educating people and coming together more things can be done to bring local produce into more schools at a better and more affordable price.

Heston Alison. http://prc.tulane.edu/uploads/Transforming_School_Food.25891704-1290014832.pdf. Stepping up to the plate transforming school foods.

This article gives short and long term recommendations that can positively impact the school food on both a practical and policy level.  It also talks about how by supporting local foods and the school purchasing from them that everyone will be better off.  There are also quotes from students who believe and feel that healthier fresh foods make them feel better about the school lunch as well.

United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.  http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/downloadable/small.pdf   Site visited April 9,2012

This paper covers how you can bring local foods into your public school systems.  It is a step by step instructional guide on how you can make a difference in your community by linking up local farmers and schools.  It starts off by stating that all you need is a meeting or gathering of people it proves there are strength and numbers and that is how things that can be changed.  A main thing this paper pointed out was that to really make this happen is to get in touch with farmers as well that may be the most important step.

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