Farm-To-School Expands Partnerships

The DATCP Farm to School & Institution and WI Foods Program is expanding its partnerships coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic as it prepares for the next school year.

Program Specialist April Yancer says a pilot will roll out in the fall aiming to create a farm-to-school minimally processed fruit and vegetable line. The pilot is a partnership between DATCP and Midwest Foods. This will process local foods in larger capacities. Midwest Foods is expanding their local food purchasing and moving it through their minimally processed line. Distribution will be statewide.

Farm to School initiatives practice and promote the use of locally sourced foods in school meal programs. Key elements of F2S are engaging with procurement, nutrition education and school gardens. Initiatives also provide local food to eaters through institutional kitchens such as corporate and college campuses, hospitals and food banks.​ In turn, it boosts the regional food system supply chains.

“We know that our local farmers need that support in developing their businesses and that it benefits our communities,” Yancer says.

Also this fall, UW-Extension is launching a “Wisconsin Harvest of the Month” program that will offer education materials for teachers and school food service directors to use local Wisconsin product in their programs, Yancer says.

See the DATCP Farm to School annual report released earlier this month: