This story is cross posted from the CDFA Planting Seeds blog.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Office of Farm to Fork was created with a mandate to increase access to healthier, California grown foods by supporting sales to school programs. The office has focused considerable effort on the Farm to School movement.
In addition to assisting in the creation of a model multi-school-district buying collaborative, the Office of Farm to Fork has paved the way for school districts to connect with California farmers and procure fresh wholesome food. The principal accomplishment under this mandate is the California Farmer Marketplace.
The Farm to School effort enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools.
The average school district spends 15% of their budget on local products. School districts in California are focusing their purchases from local producers on the following types
- 80% fruits
- 76% vegetables
- 54% milk
- 20% meat or poultry