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USDA Announces Additional Support to Help Schools Buy Local

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced grants for 71 projects spanning 42 states and the District of Columbia that support the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) efforts to connect school cafeterias with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School program.

Resource | Webinars/Videos
Finding, Buying and Serving Local Food - Introduction to Procurement

In this webinar, the first of the series, Christina Conell and Maggie Gosselin from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, covered basic procurement fundamentals relevant to the Federal Child Nutrition Programs. Topics include informal and formal procurement methods and maintaining competition.

Resource | Technical Assistance
Verifying On-Farm Food Safety

Verifying On-Farm Food Safety. Prior to purchasing produce from a local farm, school nutrition operators should visit the farm to observe key food safety practices and ask questions about produce handling.

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USDA Helps Schools Connect with Local Farmers and Ranchers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced $4.8 million in grants for 74 projects spanning 39 states that support the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) efforts to connect child nutrition programs with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School Program.

Resource | Technical Assistance & Guidance
Procuring Local Foods

From beef and bison in Montana to apples in Michigan and radishes in Rhode Island, local foods are on the menu. The resources on this page will help ensure child nutrition program operators have the resources and knowledge necessary to incorporate local foods into their day-to-day operations. While many of the resources featured here were developed with K-12 schools in mind, much of the information is equally relevant to early childcare facilities and summer feeding sites.

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New USDA Rule Encourages the Purchase of Local Agricultural Products for Critical Nutrition Assistance Programs

Today, Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon announced that USDA's child nutrition programs are implementing new rules designed to encourage use of local farm products in school meals. The final rule, published in the Federal Register, will let schools and other providers give preference to unprocessed locally grown and locally raised agricultural products as they purchase food for the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Special Milk, Child and Adult Care, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable, and Summer Food Service programs. The rule is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 signed into law by President Obama and one of the key provisions to bolster farm to school programs across the country.

Resource | Webinars/Videos
Planning Toolkit - Finding and Buying Local Foods
Resource | Proposed Rule
Proposed Rule: Geographic Preference Option for the Procurement of Unprocessed Agricultural Products in Child Nutrition Programs

The purpose of this proposed rule is to incorporate this procurement option in the Programs' regulations and to define the term "unprocessed locally grown or locally raised agricultural products'' to ensure that both the intent of Congress in providing for such a procurement option is met and that any such definition will facilitate ease of implementation for institutions participating in the Child Nutrition Programs.