Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Massachusetts Farm to School Project Success Grows and Grows...

Massachusetts Farm to School Project Success Grows & Grows...

The Massachusetts Farm to School Project has been matching up schools and farmers since 2004, helping to create sustainable local foods purchasing relationships. Today, there are 217 school districts involved in the project with 402 schools actively involved, along with dozens of colleges. 

This grassroots project has encourage the growth of preferential local foods purchasing in schools and other institutions which has resulted in profitable sales routes for local farmers and affordable purchasing for local schools.  

According to Kelly Erwin, the project's director, "As the Massachusetts Farm to School Project developed we learned more about how to make this food system change possible. Educating school customers about ensuring local foods integrity when purchasing through a conventional distributor has also been important. It's inspiring that school systems as large as Lawrence and Worcester, or as small as Maynard and Plainville have begun to serve fresh local foods in their cafeterias!"

Farmers, please take a look at this important update from the Massachusetts Farm to School Project:

"We were unable to source enough product to meet institutional demand in 2011. Even without harsh weather, we don't believe that there would have been enough fresh produce available to satisfy the needs of the schools, colleges, and hospitals with whom we work.

During the 2011-2011 school year, 217 school districts and 81 colleges and private schools in Massachusetts preferentially purchased local foods. This translated to $1.32 million in gross farm income for the 42 farms we surveyed.

We have every reason to believe that the demand from schools, hospitals, colleges and other institutions will continue to grow and will continue to be profitable for Massachusetts farmers.

At the Mass. Farm to School Project, we offer free technical assistance to farmers interested in exploring and expanding profitable institutional sales. We would be delighted to talk with you about the possibilities of growing for this expanding market and to share information with you about the most popular products, successful sales models that farms have created around the state, and customers who have expressed significant interest.

Contact us at 413-253-3844 or by writing info@massfarmtoschool.org. We'd love to talk with you."

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