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For farmers and food processors interested in selling to schools

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Schools frequently state the need for minimally-processed fruits and vegetables for their salad bars.

Farmers and food processors are key partners in farm to school efforts, and basic processing of fruits and vegetables can really make the difference in schools' ability to use local produce. Schools have limited budgets and staff time to do in-house processing of raw fruits and vegetables. They are especially interested in minimally-processed produce items to add to salad bars or conveniently serve in side dishes to meet their fruit and vegetable nutrition standard requirements. Some farms have found success with doing some value-added processing for their farm products, in order to expand their institutional market.

WSDA Fact Sheets for Farmers and Food Processors: 

OSPI has put together a handy visual to share the vegetable subgroups schools are required to serve:

OSPI's Colorful Vegetable Subgroups poster for meeting school nutrition standards

USDA Nutrition Standards for Snacks Sold in Schools

If you're developing snacks for the school markets, they will need to meet the new nutrition standards schools are required to meet, starting in this current (2014-15) school year.  Learn more here:

Smart Snacks in Schools Graphic wiht examples of sugary snacks "Before the New Standards" and healthier options "After"

Recent Webinars:
Farm to School Opportunities for NW Food Processors

Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Farm to School team recently partnered with the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to present webinars for food processors in the region who are interested in selling to schools.   

These two webinars shared survey results from WSDA’s farm, school, and processor surveys in Washington and provided an overview of farm to school opportunities in Oregon.  With that context, we discussed sourcing of regionally-grown fruits and vegetables and ways to develop sales relationships with schools and other institutional food purchasers. 

Archived versions of the webinars are available for download at https://agriculture.box.com/ProcessorEducation2014

Processor Webinar 1 screen shotFarm to School Supply Chains in Oregon and Washington – September 11, 2014  
In this webinar, WSDA and ODE farm to school educators discuss product needs for farm to school and ways to source and promote local fruits and vegetables, and look at an overview of supply chain issues for selling to schools and other institutions.

 

Processor Webinar 2 screen shotSelling to Schools- The Details– September 18, 2014
WSDA and OSPI educators provide an overview of the school purchasing process, a look at food safety documentation and product labeling, and a dive into how processors can sell into school and institutional markets. 

 

This resource page, along with the fact sheets and webinars, were made possible with funding from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

For further information, or to make suggestions for ways WSDA can support your farm or business, please contact WSDA at farmtoschool@agr.wa.gov

Other Resources: 

Washington: 

Oregon: 

General Resources: 

USDA Foods:

  • USDA Foods Online Trainings- Trainings available at www.nfsmi.org include: 
    • USDA Foods Primer 1
    • USDA Foods Primer 2
    • Life Cycle of USDA Foods
    • USDA Foods Processing 101
Last Updated: 11/13/2018