In 2023, The Food Trust expanded its Philadelphia Quarter Back for Local project and welcomed three new participating sites. The Quarter Back for Local project provides Philadelphia Early Care and Education (ECE) sites with $0.25 for each meal that includes Pennsylvania-grown fruits and/or vegetables and aims to get more locally grown food into school meals and to support Pennsylvania local farmers.
The Food Trust launched the project in 2022 with two ECE sites The Caring Center and Children’s Village. Before participating in the program, The Caring Center and Children’s Village spent a combined $5,800 on local food, which amounted to 1.48% of their total food budget. Last year, with the support of the Quarter Back for Local funding, these centers spent a combined $34,362 on local food which accounted for 8.38% of their total food spending, and received $10,452.50 in reimbursement. In total, the centers served 41,583 meals featuring Pennsylvania grown produce items.
Erica Lewis, food service manager at The Caring Center shared why serving local food is important to her during a presentation at the Farm to Child Nutrition Summit in Harrisburg this past October. “One of the factors is giving my children the best meal I can possibly give them while they’re in our care at the Caring Center,” said Lewis, about the meals she serves.
The Quarter Back for Local has also resulted in media attention for Children’s Village. The ECE site’s values around serving local, nourishing and culturally relevant food has been featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer twice this past year: Children’s Village’s goal to improve school meals and the great work of their Kitchen Administrator/Head Chef, Matt Ferry.
In October, The Food Trust welcomed three new ECE sites to join the Quarter Back for Local project. Thanks to the sponsors of this project, No Kid Hungry and The Rite Aid Foundation, The Food Trust is able to extend the project to these additional sites and will continue working with The Caring Center and Children’s Village in 2023 and 2024! The sites are eager to begin serving locally sourced meals and The Food Trust looks forward to continuing this exciting new project and learning more about the benefits of incentivizing local food purchasing in schools and ECEs.
Congratulations to these three new recipients of the Quarter Back for Local grant:
- Somerset Academy Early Learning Center – Somerset Learning Academy has some experience serving local produce at their center and are excited about this opportunity to source even more local food. They already have a school garden and plan on expanding their this year.
- The Excelsior School of Philadelphia – Serving high-quality, local food is a priority for The Excelsior School. In addition to serving local food, The Excelsior school also plans on starting a school garden.
- Young Scholars Daycare Center – Young Scholars Daycare Center created an edible urban garden in 20222 and plan to continue utilizing the garden along with purchasing local food from more sources in the coming year.
If you are interested in learning more about Local Food Purchasing Incentives, check out this recap and recording from the December Virtual Open House, hosted by the PA Farm to School Network.