Frequently Asked Questions about selling local produce to schools:
- Can schools afford local products?
Yes, many local products are highly competitive when in season. In some situations local product is more expensive. The Drive for 25 Farm to School Grant provides extra funding to schools so extra costs can be covered.
- Do schools need to have large amounts or full quantities and what if I don’t have enough?
Many schools can use traditional distributors to fill in any gaps or shortfalls in supply. It’s most important to be honest and timely with information about the amount of product you have so schools can adjust to make up the difference from traditional suppliers. Schools plan menus far in advance and would prefer to know your product availability with 2 months lead time or more. However, orders are placed weekly so please don't hesitate to reach out when you have product available.
- Do schools need to have consistent product all year?
While consistent product is preferred, seasonal product can be used and schools can switch back to their traditional distributors when local products run out.
TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION OPPORTUNITIES
Food Safety Training (FSMA Certificate)- provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension
Baskets to Pallets Training- provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension
Growers Academy- provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension
NY Grown & Certified- program with support funding for food safety such as GAP certification and environmental stewardship
GRANT FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
SCHOOL MARKET INFORMATION
USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Pilot- Participating Schools (requires GAP certification)