OMAHA, NE (November 7, 2011)—The Omaha-based Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition hopes to smooth the path between interested schools with farm-fresh food producers who can meet their needs with a new online Farm to School toolkit designed to walk food service personnel, food producers, distributors and others through the process.
The toolkit includes a chart listing the seasons during which various Nebraska products are available, a food safety checklist for producers interested in supplying schools, and a list of local producers with contact information and the products they offer.
Links show examples of farm-to-school efforts in the metropolitan area and in other states, including a Massachusetts cookbook with recipes for turning fresh produce into large-batch dishes.
"We've tried to make it really practical," said Danelle Myer, the center's marketing director.
The Gretchen Swanson Center leads the farm-to-school portion of a multi-million-dollar health promotion grant that Douglas County received from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Farm-to-school programs are seen as a way to encourage healthful eating by children and to expand markets for local food producers.
The toolkit can be found at toolkit.centerfornutrition.org/.