Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Farm to School opportunities for farmers

I thought this would be of interest to those in the listed towns. I think this is a natural if we're looking to support healthier eating in our schools and promote local food.
I am getting many calls from many eager schools who would like to pair up with a local farm (or a couple of farms) to make Farm to School happen. Calls are coming from Masset, Kitwanga, Terrace, Telkwa, Houston, Smithers, Prince George, Chetwynd, Ft. St. John, Dawson Creek, Nazko, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kamloops, Kelowna, Salmo, and Kimberly Schools are looking for farmers that produce fruits and vegetables - any fresh product that could be used in their salad bar (leafy greens, tomatoes, cukes, celery, carrots, peppers, zucchini, radishes, potatoes, carrots,beets, onions, garlic, cabbage, squash..etc...).

In this school year the school would develop an agreement with the farmer to utilize his/her current food products in their salad bar..and in the upcoming 2009 season the farmer would plan and plant additional foods to increase the amounts and variety of produce available in the salad bar. It would be great if the farmer had a greenhouse operation and/or was willing to consider one.

The aim is as much local as soon as feasible. The farmers would be looking at supplying produce to serve 200 - 800 children 2 times per week. In potatoes alone that might translate to a minimum of 50 - 200 lbs of potatoes per week for 26 weeks per year.

The benefit to the farmer is this He has an assured customer for now and years to come (salad bars must demonstrate they will be financially self sustaining within the first year. The children pay for the foods..the farmer gets a fair market price)

Some of the funds for the project can be used to assist in getting the farmer set up to support the school (i.e. Seed money upfront to plant the crops, funds for gardening tools to teach the children, funds expand storage, funds to contribute to a small greenhouse..etc..)

Can any of you help me in the development of a list?

If so, please drop me a line or call.

Many thanks in advance,

Joanne Bays
Project Manager Farm to School Salad Bar
Public Health Association of BC
Cell 250-961-9933

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