One of the biggest challenges school districts face in getting fresh, local produce into school lunches is sourcing the quantities needed to make upwards if 2000 plus lunches daily. In Fresno, the Turlock school district has partnered with California-based Ag Link.
Ag-Link allows school districts to communicate and source food with nearby farmers and buy their produce with the click of a mouse. This connection is helping the Turlock district and others meet new federal rules requiring more fruits and vegetables in school cafeterias to help prevent childhood obesity while taking advance of being in the Central Valley, one of the largest agriculture regions in the country.
Ag-Link acts as a “food hub” that takes producers and large scale consumers to foster connections based on who can use what.
A recent article in the Huffington Post talked about Ag-Link and how, “A lot of schools don’t have contacts with farmers. They’re a few miles away from each other and would never know they are so close. So having a directory and a networking tool at their fingertips is a huge help.”
This concept sounds like a very important step towards more fresh, local fruits and veggies in school lunches.