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Farm-to-school programs motivate school food service professionals
Date:3/8/2010

ol foods, you know. They don't want things that aren't cool.''

A "trickle-down effect" was found for SFSP being proud to serve high-quality products that students were excited to eat.

The researchers found the farm-to-school programs benefited both the school and farmer. SFSP reported that the lower price for produce was attributed to a shortened supply chain. SFSP were able to buy produce that is not typically offered in school cafeterias such as asparagus, blue potatoes, Asian pears, etc.

Schools are an attractive market for the farmer because "perfect" products are not always needed. For example, a SFSP commented:

"I will take the outsize apples. [Farmer] will bring me bushels of apples, the tiny ones, and that's great for our kindergarteners, our first-graders. We sort them out and the big ones children here [middle school] love so I think we're a great market for off-size. We don't need the perfect-sized apple. That's great for retail, that's what sells. But in schools, we can take the carrots that have ''s'' [shape] in them because we'll clean them, we'll take the skin off, and then we'll chop them up and it doesn't matter to us. They'll end up in the homemade soup that day, or on top of salad. So for us, we're a good market and I don't think farmers realize that.''

This research is being presented at a time when budgets are tight and there is a huge need for nutrition education in schools. The farm-to-school program may help to promote healthful eating and improve our school food programs.

Writing in the article, the authors state, "Relationships with farmers and vendor characteristics emerged as important variables that may have contributed to the benefits that these food service professionals expressed. This study suggests a relationship between locally grown food and potential benefits such as increased consumption of fruits and vegetables among children. However, much more research is needed to b
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Contact: Lynelle Korte
jnebmedia@elsevier.com
314-447-9227
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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