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Farm to school gains traction in Fresno County

According to the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census, schools with strong farm to school programs report higher school meal participation, reduced food waste, and increased willingness of the students to try new foods, notably fruits and vegetables.

Just recently, Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission (Fresno EOC) is one of 65 projects spanning 42 states and Puerto Rico receiving support this year through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program, an effort to better connect school cafeterias and students with local farmers and ranchers. Fresno EOC received a $100,000 support service grant to impact 250 students across 6 schools in Fresno Unified School District.

Fresno EOC will use support service funds to develop a policy, with input from a stakeholders, including Fresno State University Office of Community and Economic Development’s experienced staff, Fresno Unified School District staff, local farmers, and community partners. To increase connections between local growers and Fresno Unified School District, the stakeholders will document the amount of local food and produce that Fresno Unified School District is currently purchasing and consuming, work to determine a recommended percentage of Fresno Unified School District’s food budget for local produce, have farmer presentations, health education, and local produce taste testing.

“This project will help our local growers capitalize on local market opportunities while also ensuring that our kids have access to quality food grown in their own community,” said Ismael Herrera, Executive Director, Office of Community and Economic Development.

For more information, contact Jensen Vang, Food Systems Development Director at jensen.vang@fresnoeoc.org for more information.

This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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