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Local food procurement training recap

Contributed by: Sami Burington and Megan LeClair, Minnesota Department of EducationCover of USDA's "Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs" guide.

Local foods truly can span the school meal tray. Forty-five school nutrition staff participating in the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) Local Procurement workshop in October learned this and created action plans to serve even more local products in their school nutrition programs by using USDA’s Farm to Child Nutrition Programs Planning Guide and Farm to School Planning Toolkit. Participants also learned about procurement basics, where to find local products, and heard from an Extension educator and food safety specialist on what on-farm food safety practices to look for.

Students across Minnesota are demanding more local products too! Students in the Fridley School District prefer biting into local apples and specifically ask when the “good” apples are coming. Thanks to a Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) grant, the district was able to conduct apple taste tests in which seventh and eighth grade students sampled different varieties of apples. At lunch now, students have requested to know what variety of apples they are being served and where the apples come from.

Learn more about local food procurement by exploring USDA’s Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs guide and Minnesota’s own Toolkit for Direct Purchasing of Local Foods.
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