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Getting the farm to the school: Increasing direct, local procurement in Yolo County schools

  • Author(s): Feenstra, Gail
  • Capps, Shosha
  • Levings, Kristy Lyn
  • James, Elaine
  • Laurie, Mary
  • Maniti, Mitchell
  • Lee, Emma
  • et al.
Abstract

Since 2012, the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) has worked with the Yolo County Department of Agriculture to support farm to school activities in Yolo County. In 2015, SAREP partnered with the Yolo County Department of Agriculture to deepen engagement with Yolo County growers and increase direct sales to Yolo County schools. SAREP tracked the volumes and prices of produce purchased by five school districts for the 2014–2015 baseline year and the 2015–2016 school year. Analysis was completed for three school districts for common produce items purchased, increases in in-season purchasing and direct grower versus distributor sales. For these districts, 17 produce items were in the top 10 for at least one of the districts; the five most common were apples, bananas, lettuce, oranges and strawberries, four of which are available locally for some or all of the school year. Districts purchased between 50% and 75% of their produce in season by the end of year two. All districts increased their purchases directly from growers. Findings suggest how services for growers and school food buyers can contribute to more local procurement.

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