Keep it Simple
Develop a Plan
- Identify menu items you would like to source locally.
- Find a farmer or distributor to supply the food item.
- Decide how the food item will be served and find a good recipe.
- Train foodservice staff.
- Develop a plan for promoting the local food idea to your students and school. Go beyond simply adding a local food to the lunch menu. Use materials in this toolkit to engage students.
- Determine your evaluation plan. How are you going to know what worked and what didn’t?
- Determine what local food(s) you want to menu.
- Plan the menu date approximately two months in advance.
- Set up each new farmer as a "new vendor" for the school district with all the appropriate tax and insurance information on file.
- Confirm what quantity is need by school site. This is critical as farmers will often plant specifically for the school district.
- Schools and farmers need to determine the price of the product up front. This can be a challenge for farmers as bounty of produce relies on the weather and overall growing season. Pam said, “Agreements should be written out and not just verbally agreed upon.”
- Determine the ordering process, delivery date, and other specifics. Pam said, “It can be difficult for local farmers to deliver small amounts of any product by site, so this is negotiated by each product specifically.”
- Request that each local farmer provide the school with a summary paragraph about their farm for the marketing efforts — menu, school newsletters, menu signs, district website, etc.
- Ask cook managers to capture the farm to school menu offering with lots of pictures of both the staff and students.
- Schedule a farmer guest appearance at one or more schools on the day the local item is featured to further highlight the product and how it is grown.