The PA Farm to School Network is working to ensure that every child in the Commonwealth is nourished by local, sustainable foods and every family farmer is nourished by their community through the purchase of PA grown, raised, and caught agricultural products to be served in K-12 grade school meals.


Very soon the PA legislature will introduce the Keystone Fresh Act which, when passed and funded, could make a meaningful difference for Pennsylvania’s children, PA farmers and growers and local communities.


If you support increasing the volume and variety of PA grown food products in school meals fill out this supporter form and let us know how you want to get involved.


Schools across Pennsylvania serve more than 157 million lunches per year, providing critical nutrients to children across the Commonwealth, and making them one of the largest potential markets for agricultural producers from across the state. Despite having a child nutrition budget of more than $729 million per year, schools self-report that they spend less than 2% of those funds on PA grown foods. Local food purchasing incentive (LFPI) legislation, like the Keystone Fresh Act, would address this problem by establishing a grant program incentivizing schools to purchase, promote and serve local foods in their meal programs.


Similar LFPI programs in 16 other states have been an effective and innovative strategy, increasing the quantity of local foods served in school meals and creating an essential market for farmers. Research has shown LFPI programs generate a local multiplier effect of $1.4 for every dollar spent – keeping local dollars circulating in local economies.


The Keystone Fresh Act will also provide Pennsylvania family farmers with more stable economic prospects and ensure that schools have access to fresh, locally sourced foods. Changing procurement practices takes technical assistance and resources, which is why the Keystone Fresh Act would also provide funding for farmers to purchase equipment or marketing materials that meet school food market needs. Additionally, it would allocate funding for technical assistance providers to offer trainings for schools, farmers, and distributors making this food systems shift.


This initiative is a win-win-win scenario, fostering economic growth, improving public health outcomes, and nurturing stronger communities, all while nourishing Pennsylvania’s children with the nutrition they require to thrive.


Want to know more about procuring local food for school meals in PA? Rewatch or read the recap from the PA Farm to School Network’s virtual open house on Local Food Purchasing Incentives.


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