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Iowa School District Stays Local for School Meals

As we gear up for our next Facebook chat focusing on USDA’s work surrounding farm to schools efforts, I want to share with you a story that I came across in northeastern Iowa.

KellyBetty Hare prepares local corn for Independence Community School District students Duritsa, who is the School Food Service Director of the Independence Community School District in northeastern Iowa, was asking around about sourcing locally grown foods for her school breakfasts and lunches.  (With USDA’s help, schools around the country provide low-cost or free meals to schoolchildren each day.)  In this case, Kelly was able to link up with local farmers with the assistance of her school board, community members, and a coordinator at the local farmers market.  Now she can serve fresh and local foods like sweet corn, strawberries, apples, and asparagus to her hungry students.

Of course, we here at USDA recognize that Kelly and her team had to be smart to make the leap to serving fresh and local fruits and vegetables in her schools.  While it may seem like a simple, straightforward idea, this isn’t always the case. Starting with the fact that the school year and the growing season only overlap for a few months a year in most parts of the country, Food Service folk have to do serious planning ahead to make this work.

So, as we hold up the Independence Community School District as an example that others may follow, I want to invite you to join our Facebook chat on Thursday at 3pm as we discuss how we can help make local, healthy food a daily part of our children’s lives. Become a fan of the USDA on Facebook today!