If you missed the December virtual open house, you can watch the recording below!

The featured topic during this open house was Local Food Purchasing.

Tegan Hagy, PFSN leadership team member, and Philadelphia-based consultant, shared an overview of local food purchasing/procurement (LFP) and local food purchasing incentives (LFPI). Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) serve 1 million meals a day, with an annual budget of  $729,061,680. Currently, only 1.5% of that annual budget is spent on local foods. The USDA Patrick Leahy Farm to School Grant, established in 2013, has distributed about $84 million over the past 10 years however this funding is for supporting procurement changes, not purchasing local foods. A decade after the first USDA Farm to School Grant Program, there are still barriers to local food procurement for both schools and farmers. Tegan defined LFPI as a state-level policy that provides meaningful funding to CNPs to offset the cost of local foods directly to get more local food in schools. Tegan shared how a values-based LFPI program can include values such as environmental impact, economic impact, public health, animal welfare/husbandry, underserved farmers and ranchers, and farmworker rights.

Audrey Hess, Public Health Nutritionist at the Division of Food & Nutrition with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and Elaine Mc Donnell, Director of Project PA with Penn State University, shared key takeaways from the Pennsylvania LFPI Investigation. The investigation focused on LFPI program design, administration, and implementation. To learn more about the results of this investigation, you can find the report at projectpa.org.

The following panelists spoke about local food purchasing in schools and shared how they purchase or supply Pennsylvania local food for school meals.

  • Matt Ferry: Kitchen Administrator/Head Chef at Children’s Village, Philadelphia
  • Jillian Bergman: Director of Food Services, Tulpehocken Area School District, Berks County
  • Crystal Hampton: Owner of Davis Grown farm who sells food for use in school meals to the Bloomsburg School District, Columbia County

Patrick Andrews, Division Chief of Markets at The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. shared information about the PA Farm to School Grant Program

Caryn Long-Earl, Director of the Bureau of Food Assistance at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, spoke about the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Plan

Kelsey Porter, Farm to School Regional Specialist with the USDA, shared information on the USDA Farm to School Census.

To learn more about local food purchasing, check out this blog post about the most recent PA Farm-Bill Farm to School Grants and this LFP success story about Davis Grown and the Bloomsburg Area School District featuring our panelist, Crystal Hampton.

Don’t miss the next virtual open house planned for March 21, where we will be sharing and discussing local food procurement. Register here!

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