"Food To School" Helps Farmers, Encourages Schools To Buy Local


A group is trying to bring local growers and schools together to get fruits and vegetables from central Nebraska onto lunch lines.

From the greenhouse to the table, area farmers are looking at ways to safely work with schools when buying direct.

It's called the 'Food to School' program.

This month, the Center for Rural Affairs is holding workshops for farmers to help with networking, as well as to discuss what regulations they have to follow for the process to work.

"It's really important that we can follow through with this program. It may be hard; it's going to be hard for the school system to understand the availability, it's going to be hard for the farmers to understand the school system's need," said Spalding farmer Robert Bernt, "but we need to start small, and work together and continue to work forward and hope it doesn't fail and collapse, and just make it work."

Officials say working together is crucial for the program to be successful.

"With 'Farm to School' the facts show that kids eat more fruits and vegetables, they're engaged academically, they're more responsive in the classroom with good, local healthy foods," said 'Farm to School' coordinator Sarah Smith. "So it's possible that we can work through some of the barriers, and people are doing it."

More training will be available for farmers in the next two weeks throughout central Nebraska including Saint Paul, Burwell and Broken Bow.

REPORTER'S NOTES: Training will also be available for school representatives in April. There's also a 'Farm to School' summit in West Point on Tuesday, March 18 for anyone interested in the program. More information can be found at