266936 Farm to school pilot project in two school districts in San Mateo County, California

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 3:30 PM - 3:50 PM

Jennifer Lynn Gross, MPH , Health Policy & Planning, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Robin Galas , San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City, CA
Diana Abellera , Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Oakland, CA
Karen Luna , General Manager-On Site Service Solutions, Ravenswood City School District, East Palo Alto, CA
Arlinda Marvan , Jefferson Union High School District, Daly City, CA
Scott Morrow, MD, MPH , Health Officer, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Wendy Weidan , Sustainable Management, Presidio Graduate School, San Francisco, CA
Introduction: Farm to school programs connect schools to local farms, strive to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables; provide agriculture, health and nutrition education; and support regional food economies. The San Mateo County Food System Alliance (SMFSA) is a community-based collaborative that promotes an economically viable, environmentally sound and socially just food system. One goal of the SMFSA is to facilitate a connection between institutions and county growers. The SMFSA obtained a grant to implement a farm to school pilot project in two school districts.

Methods: The SMFSA surveyed schools to assess their interest in purchasing local produce. Using this data, it selected school districts with different demographics and infrastructure capabilities. It then analyzed produce purchased in 2009-2010, met with growers to determine their willingness to sell produce to schools, and facilitated connections between food service directors and growers.

Results: One grower agreed to devote three acres of produce for schools and another agreed to sell produce directly to high schools in spring 2012. A third grower will supply strawberries to a “Harvest of the Month” program.

Discussion: These accomplishments suggest that farm to school programs can be replicated in other school districts in the county. However, strong commitment from both growers and food service directors is essential to the success of such programs.

Learning Areas:
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss lessons learned from a farm to school pilot project; 2. Describe different strategies to work with growers and school food service directors to incorporate local produce; and 3. Describe how this pilot project aligns with the San Mateo County Food System Alliance’s broader goals.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have provided staff support to the San Mateo County Food System Alliance for the past five years and co-facilitate the Farm to Institution Committee of this community-based collaborative.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.