NORTHWEST TENNESSEE (February 22) – Northwest Tennessee school nutrition staff and farmers are meeting for a Virtual Meet-Up on Thursday, March 3, at 9 a.m. (CST) via Zoom. To access this meeting, visit nwtnlfn.org/local-food-procurement/ or share through Facebook at https://fb.me/e/1jMZWYm1L.
This discussion will facilitate the connection of local farm products into school nutrition programs.
With collaborative support from West Tennessee School Nutrition Directors, farmers, and food businesses, the LFN will form a steering committee starting to aid in the development of a Local Food Procurement Manual in order to identify and develop supply chain and processing mechanisms through the integration of locally-grown specialty crops in school-meal programs.
“When implemented with equity in mind,” noted Samantha Goyret, Executive Director of the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network, “local food procurement policies adopted by public agencies and institutions can bring economic revitalization, food system, public health, and environmental benefits to communities. In addition to supporting local producers and distributors, these policies meet the growing demand for locally and sustainably produced food and the desire for consumers to support more equitable food systems.”
Procurement is the purchasing of goods and services that are locally-sourced. Local, food-growing efforts are already helping families gain better access to healthy, quality food, creating value-added food system-related jobs, and supporting local entrepreneurship.
Additionally, the LFN is developing a Taste of Tennessee Harvest of the Month educational marketing program to be implemented in participating school district cafeterias and their surrounding communities. This agriculture educational campaign aims to inform the public about Tennessee-grown specialty crops throughout the year. The Local Food Network is seeking to connect local, food-growing operations with local schools.
For example, during the 2022-2023 school year, the Weakley County School District and various other schools are seeking the following locally-sourced items related to its Taste of Tennessee Harvest of the Month Featured Products: May 2022 – Strawberries, September 2022 – Apples, November 2022 – Sweet Potatoes, and January/February 2023 – Greens.
Are you interested in sourcing your local products into schools? Contact the NWTNLFN at 731-332-9071, visit nwtnlfn.org/local-food-procurement/, or share this event through Facebook: https://fb.me/e/1jMZWYm1L.