Dig into Procurement and Buy Local

Volume 3, Issue 12, April 25, 2017

Fact sheets

Resources for Procuring Local Foods

As the school year comes to an end, now is the perfect time to create a plan to bring more local foods into your program. Buying local foods doesn't have to be intimidating. The Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) has numerous resources to make the procurement process simple and efficient. Check out the resources below and learn how to enhance your program with local foods:


Fact Sheets and Handouts


Child eating healthy food

CACFP Meal Pattern Training Tools

The new Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal pattern goes into effect on October 1, 2017. Team Nutrition just released infographics and training tools to help you successfully update your menus to align with the new meal pattern. Put those procurement resources to use and integrate local foods into your CACFP! Check out the CACFP Meal Pattern Training Tools below:


Summer Meals Matter: Tapping into Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations

Date: May 4 at 1:00pm ET

Faith-based and neighborhood organizations can support meal preparation, programming, outreach to increase your participation, and ultimately help build up community support and investment in your summer program. Join this call to learn how these partners can help ensure the sustainability and growth of your program over time to enable you to serve a greater number of children in your community when the school year ends. Register now!

Maintaining Multiple School Gardens

Date: May 9 at 4:00pm ET

All school gardens have one thing in common: they have to be maintained so they can continue to be productive and thriving educational spaces and school resources. In this webinar, viewers will learn about two successful approaches that School Garden Support Organizations have used to maintain multiple school gardens. In addition, we will share best practices, tools and resources related to garden maintenance needs throughout the seasons. Learn more!

Breakfast Matters - Back to School

Date: May 11 at 3:00pm ET

The school year is ending, but the planning for the next academic year is already beginning. Join us as we share tips and tools for preparing your school district’s food and nutrition service strategies for the 2017–2018 school year. Topics will include forming an unpaid meal policy, making the most of the Community Eligibility Provision, and launching or enhancing your Breakfast After the Bell and afterschool meal programs. Register now!

Funding Opportunities

First Nations

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) launched a new grant program called “Nourishing Native Children: Feeding Our Future” thanks to generous funding provided by the Walmart Foundation. The effort will provide grants to Native American communities interested in expanding nutrition resources for existing programs that serve American Indian children ages 6-14. First Nations plans to award up to 10 grants of up to $15,000 each to continue or expand existing nutrition efforts. 

The deadline for all online grant applications is May 5, 2017. The grant period will commence June 1, 2017, and end January 31, 2018.

Grantee Spotlight: North East Independent School District is Planting Seeds to Grow Healthier Kids

man giving presentation

At its core, a successful Farm to School program is about relationships. This spring North East Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas used their USDA Farm to School Planning Grant to invest in building relationships to support their growing farm to school program.

The day long farm to school workshop, called “Planting Seeds to Grow Healthier Kids,” brought together leaders from sixteen neighboring school districts, as well as local farmers, distributors, non-profits – even representatives from state and local government.

The diversity of attendees reflects the care and attention dedicated to the advisory committee that planned the event. For months prior Sharon Glosson, the Executive Director of School Nutrition Services for North East ISD, worked with a planning team spanning many perspectives in the food system. Sharon says “the vision for the event evolved over time. In order for us to offer local product we were going to have to make connections with distributors that can offer local product; farmers don’t always have those connections.” Thus the Planting Seeds workshop was born! The event provided an opportunity for North East ISD to support both farmers and distributors in making those connections, laying a foundation for the district’s long term farm to school vision. Attendance by the majority of San Antonio area school districts, large and small, demonstrates widespread interest in procuring local products especially through established distribution channels.

Speakers from the Texas Department of Agriculture, National Center for Appropriate Technology, Sustainable Food Center, and our own USDA Farm to School team spoke to best practices, resources, and ideas for procuring food from local producers for child nutrition programs.

Louisa Kates, Director with the district, notes that the event included strategic seating assignments designed to bring together people from different sectors to forge new relationships. Thinking about the potential fruits of those relationships, Louisa states, “we had many types of producers and farmers there; even if we are not currently working together we don’t know what opportunities to collaborate might exist two or three years down the road.”

The feeling in the room was one of excitement - the buzz of friends and coworkers reacquainting around a common goal and of new connections being made. If succeeding in farm to school takes a village, North East ISD well on their way to convening a community of people that can make it happen.