Starting in January of 2021 with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, our team is working on a new project to understand the impacts of state-level FTS procurement policies on rural wealth, school meals, local producers, supply chain businesses, and communities.
This study is a collaborative project between Colorado State University, Ohio State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, and is being supported by an Advisory Committee that includes the American Farmland Trust (AFT), the National Farm to School Network (NFSN), the National Farm to Institution Metrics Collaborative, the USDA, eXtension’s Community Local Regional Food Systems eCommunity of Practice, Michigan State University, the Colorado Department of Education, Nourish Colorado, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, and the Oregon Farm to School & School Garden Network.
We seek to evaluate the extent to which state-level FTS procurement incentives impact school nutrition service director decisions about school meals, and the impact of state-level FTS procurement incentives in generating benefits for local producers and supply chain businesses in and around farm to school districts, and the communities in which they are located.
There are four specific objectives in this study:
Explore the relationship between FTS activities, state FTS policies, and regional community assets.
Evaluate whether state-level FTS procurement incentives impact what school nutrition service directors serve in school meals.
Determine the extent to which state-level FTS procurement incentives generate benefits for local producers and supply chain businesses in and around FTS districts and the communities in which they are located.
Inspire new research and policy dialogue on the role state FTS policies can play in supporting positive rural development, school food procurement decisions, and producer and supply chain business outcomes.
For Objectives 2 and 3, we focus on three partner states and their FTS policies that incentivize local procurement.
Each state has successful FTS programs, and robust data of local procurement, school gardens, and support for schools.