Vermont Food System Plan Market Brief: School Food Procurement

Teaching Vermont students the value of Vermont food for both their own health and their community is an investment in future generations who will support agricultural policy, buy local, consider food system careers, and invest in resources for schools and other institutions. Schools purchase Vermont foods to build relationships in their community, and understand that the relationships have to be sustainable for both the school and the producer. However, pressures to prioritize cheap and/or prepared food are increasing due to decreased student enrollment, school consolidation, and administrative personnel changes. In addition, regulatory demands and food costs have increased at a greater rate than federal and state school meal reimbursement. School nutrition personnel, teachers, and administrators are focused on the basics of teaching required subjects and federal requirements for student meals rather than being able to creatively expand their Farm to School curriculum or spend time sourcing, purchasing, and serving local foods that students will enjoy. All this means that local purchasing is at risk of decreasing.

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