A Guide to Local Produce in Keystone Schools

Connecting Pennsylvania Farmers, Distributors & Schools for a Healthier Commonwealth

Explore the map above to connect with schools, farmers, distributors and other organizations in your area!

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Pennsylvania farms cultivate an abundance of fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables for all families to enjoy. In fact, the commonwealth is one of the nation’s top producers of apples, strawberries, mushrooms, snap peas and more. Meanwhile, millions of children across Pennsylvania are participating in child nutrition programs in schools, early care and education sites, and summer programs. With more than 167 million lunches served to young people during the 2017-18 school year alone, we know these programs are critical to ensuring children have access to healthy meals.

When it comes to getting Pennsylvania products into school meals and child nutrition programs, supply and demand are growing. The average Pennsylvania school district spends 16% of its budget on local products, and many districts have plans to increase that number. The farm to school movement is gaining momentum in Pennsylvania, and by infusing local products into child nutrition programs, school gardens, summer programs and experiential education, we can lift up small businesses and support a strong regional food system. 

working together is a win-win

Why Sell to Schools?

  1. Added Revenue: Farms and distributors that sell to schools and other child nutrition programs can create a supplementary revenue stream that complements other existing business components such as farmers markets, CSAs and other wholesale markets. Schools can be consistent and predictable customers.

  2. Marketing Opportunities: When schools purchase your products, there are many opportunities to spread your organization’s name, such as having the school promote it on menus, in the cafeteria line and in materials to parents.

  3. Meaningful Investment: Selling to schools is a meaningful way to invest in your own community and foster an appreciation for agriculture among Pennsylvania’s future farmers and shoppers.


Why Buy Locally Grown Produce?

  1. Better Quality: From sweet, ripe fruit to crisp, green vegetables, locally grown products tend to be fresher and higher in quality with minimal transportation time from farm to plate. They are also often cost neutral when purchased in season.

  2. Empower Students: Incorporating local products into child nutrition programs can result in positive student nutrition behavior change and increases in food and agriculture knowledge among students, especially those facing food insecurity.

  3. Support Local Businesses: Take the chance to invest in the very communities of which you are a part.

resources

To join the Pennsylvania Farm to School Network, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, The Monthly Harvest

You can also find more resources through USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Farm to School Network.

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