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Farm To School

Procuring Local Foods

Last Modified: 12/03/2014

From beef and bison in Montana to apples in Michigan and radishes in Rhode Island, school districts across the nation bring school meals to life with creative sourcing strategies. The resources on this page will help guide all the players (schools, state agencies, nonprofits, producers) through the supply chain of how to buy locally, and correctly!

Guide: Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs

Our newest resource for purchasing local foods, Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs covers procurement basics, defining local, where to find local products, and the variety of ways schools can purchase locally in accordance with regulations. Throughout the guide, examples illustrate the many mechanisms available for districts to procure local food.

Finding, Buying, and Serving Local Foods Webinar Series

From January through June, 2014, the USDA Farm to School Program hosted two webinars each month to showcase the variety of ways school districts can purchase local foods. The series started with an introduction to basic procurement principles, and then walked participants through numerous strategies and tactics for buying local foods. The entire series can be viewed online:

1. Introduction to Procurement
Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with general procurement resources here.

2. Conducting a Local Procurement Baseline Assessment
Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.

3. Finding Local Producers
Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.

4. Using the Informal Procurement Method
Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.

5. Using the Specifications, Requirements and Evaluation Criteria to Target Local Products
Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.

6. Working with Distributors
Download a PDF of the slides here  and a handout with helpful resources here.

7. Using a Forward Contract
Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.

8. Introduction to Geographic Preference
Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.

9. Using Geographic Preference
Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.

10. Using USDA Foods as Resource to Purchase Local
Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.

11. Using DoD Fresh to Purchase Local
Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.

12. Tying It All Together and Digging In
Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.

Fact Sheets

See more fact sheets here >

Policy Memos & Regulations

Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs Training Available through NFSMI

The Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Program Facilitator's Guide and powerpoint presentation is now available on the National Food Service Management Institute's website. State Agencies and school nutrition directors can request the training through NFSMI as a half-day, full-day or two-day training. The Facilitator's Guide digests the material from the Procuring Local Foods Guide into a script, while also offering tips for conducting a successful training and incorporating interactive exercises. 

Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables

The 2014 Farm Bill directs USDA to conduct a pilot for the project for the procurement of unprocessed fruits and vegetables using USDA Foods entitlement dollars. The legislation allows the use of geographic preference and encourages the procurement of local products. For more information about how states and schools can use this pilot, see the FNS pilot website and for more information about how vendors can participate, see the AMS pilot website