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Sourcing Local Food for Institutional Meal Programs

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Apple varieties from Marshland Orchard in Maltby, WA

In addition to schol meal programs, child and senior care programs, colleges, hospitals, and other institutions are choosing to serve local food.

There are many similarities between school and other kinds of institutional meal programs, and we are interested in learning about some of the differences so we can better assist farms in selling to these markets, and better assist institutional buyers with sourcing local products.

The Washington Stete Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is currently working with other publicly funded institutional meal programs seeking Washington foods to learn more about the range of sourcing, distribution and food processing requirements of these institutions.

Through the CDC funded Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, WSDA conducted operational assessments and piloted start-up farm to school projects in select large urban school districts, senior meal programs and child care facilities. In the past few year, we adapted these operational assessments, technical assistance and resources, created replicable tools, policies, and best practices to enable more meal programs to source food from local farms. The Washington Grown Food Seasonality Charts for child and senior care programs can be found at the bottom of this page under "Documents".

If you are an institutional buyer interested in farm to cafeteria programs, here are other resources on the site that may be helpful to you:

Also, check out this Farm to Table Training Video on how to use farm fresh products in senior meal programs.


Farm to Preschool / Farm to Child Care

WSDA Farm to School Toolkit devotes a section for Farm to Preschool/Farm to Child Care. Check out our Farm to Preschool website here.

National Farm to School Network's Farm to Preschool website provides extensive resources and networking opportunities for those who work in child care/preschool settings. Check out their website here.


Last Updated: 9/28/2014