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Collaborative Success Stories: Harvesting their Reward

Fruits and vegetables

There was a time when ‘school lunch’ meant stale tater tots and congealed cheese pizza. University of Missouri Program Coordinator Lorin Fahrmeier and team are working to change that.

The Missouri Farm to School Project launched in 2009 with the goal of getting more locally grown products into the cafeterias of schools, day care centers, colleges, hospitals and other institutions.

The project is a partnership between MU Extension and the Missouri Council on Activity and Nutrition (MoCAN), and it works with players on all sides of the farm-to-school equation—schools, farmers, vendors and communities.

Research has shown that Farm to School programs can result in students consuming more fruits and vegetables and having greater knowledge of agriculture and healthy eating; higher revenues for school cafeterias; and farmers diversifying their markets and securing contracts for their products. In Missouri alone, nearly 80 school districts are serving up locally grown produce, fruit and other products for their cafeteria meals and snacks.

Nearly 90 percent of surveyed K-12 food service directors said they were interested in using locally grown food because it supports their local communities, economy and farmers. They also reported wanting to serve locally grown food because it gives them a chance to improve the health of students and adults through increased fruit and vegetable consumption.

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Related Initiative(s):
Food for the Future, One Health/One Medicine,