Florida Farm to School Program’s Announcement for Florida Grown Food Procurement
FDACS has released an Invitation To Bid (ITB) to procure various fresh produce from Florida producers. Its purpose is to establish maximum pricing for the fresh produce to be purchased by the current distributors of individually participating school districts for use in child nutrition food service programs throughout the State of Florida through September 30, 2012.
The goal of FDACS is to procure various fresh produce based on the Florida agricultural harvesting timeline, and therefore we will solicit responses from growers/producers during five separate growing seasons. This first procurement will be the smallest as few Florida products are grown in quantity during the summer months and will consist of two products, cucumbers and okra. The remaining solicitation time frames and agricultural products can be reviewed on page 29 of the ITB.
The Department will host four pre-bidder conferences (one in each region of the state) during the second week in June at the following date, location and time for Sarasota County (i.e., Region 3). The bid is separated by region (four regions) and growers/producers can bid on one or multiple regions depending on their capabilities.
|Region 3 Pre-Bidder Conference|
|When:||June 14, 2012, at 10 a.m.|
UF/IFAS Extension Office
1303 17th Street West, Palmetto, FL 34221
Farm to School Program
The Sarasota County Farm to School Program is supported by UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension for the purposes of providing ‘Local Food for Healthy Children’ in our public school lunch & snack programs and of strengthening the local agricultural economy. It is part of the National Farm to School Program which educates communities how to provide locally-grown foods in school meals for the benefits of high nutrition to the children and for opportunities in direct marketing and risk management to farmers, especially producers on middle to small size family farms. The national Program provides national and southeast region newsletters of project information and resources. In Florida many counties now are also initiating Farm to School programs with the support of the FL Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For information about them see the following websites:
Successes of the Sarasota County Farm to School Program include:
1) Beverly Girard, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for the School Board of Sarasota County, Florida, announced in November 2009 “80% of the produce in the school nutrition program is from a local source”.
2) Since 2007 the Edible Schoolyard Program by Sarasota County Extension has provided garden-based curriculum, supplies, and volunteers for supporting teachers provide activities where students learn how to grow, cook, and taste fresh, nutritious foods that they grow themselves. The nation Edible Schoolyard Program is a model for the use of school gardening to support the Sarasota County Farm to School Program by improving the awareness and consequent consumption by students of locally-grown foods in the school lunches. To see a presentation & contact information of the Sarasota County Extension Edible Schoolyard Program see the following link:
To see a 2010 news story about the edible schoolyard project at Booker Middle School, follow the following link:
Currently these efforts are being supported by the Farm to School Program of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services which offers a website to connect local farmers to local school districts. Additional support is now being considered in the 2010 reauthorization by Congress of the Child Nutrition Act with additional funding for the National School Breakfast & Lunch Programs to school districts for the expanded purchasing of locally-grown, fresh foods. To find out more about this important legislation for your own education and action, please, visit the websites http://www.farmtoschool.org/policies.php and http://frac.org/Legislative/action_center/index.html
There are community partner opportunities assisting the Sarasota County Farm to School Program meet its goals. For example, community partners include the Sarasota County Government,and the Sarasota County Farm Bureau , which have provided staff funding, and the Hi Hat Ranch in Sarasota, FL and the Jones Potato Farm in Parrish, FL which have participated in past pilot project events. Community endorsements include the All Faiths Food Bank of Sarasota, the Sarasota-Manatee Originals ,and the Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota County and are welcome from interested community groups.
The Sarasota County Farm to School Program welcomes all interested groups or individuals wishing to get involved in supporting its goals, including volunteers for edible school gardens. Educational presentations are available about the Program to community groups - just contact Robert Kluson, Sarasota County Extension, at (941) 861-5000.
Farm to School In the News
Sarasota County School children enjoying locally grown greens
*Farm to School YouTube
*The Lunch Box
*Two Angry Moms
*Chef Ann Cooper: School Food Challenge
*US Dept of Health & Human Services: School Meals Need to Get Healthier Report
*Jamie Oliver's 2010 Ted Award Message: Teach Every Child About Food
- Fact Sheet: Regional and Local Impacts of the Sarasota County Farm to School Program
- Southeast Newsletter of National Farm to School Program
- National Newsletter of National Farm to School Program
- Florida Farm to School Program
- School Nutrition Association
- Slow Food in Schools
- The Edible Schoolyard