Inspiration for Projects

Here you’ll find examples of innovative, community-driven project ideas that improve the local school food system to better serve our students, schools and local economies.

We hope these ideas inspire your own community-driven collaborations to reimagine school meals.

Please see Ideas to Consider for more ideas that could be included as part of the school food system project you’re designing.

FEATURED PROJECT IDEAS

Imperfect Produce

School Food Authorities (SFAs) purchase imperfect produce from suppliers at a reduced cost, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and increasing suppliers’ profitability.

Example

Resources

SFAs and Non-Traditional Partners Collaborate for [Local] Food Procurement

Schools form new partnerships with other schools, local grocers or non-traditional partners (such as long-term care facilities, food banks, faith-based institutions and others) to leverage joint purchasing power.

Examples

Resource

Showcase local foods through culturally relevant school meals

A community organization sourced produce from a few local Hmong growers and made egg rolls.

Examples

  • To Come

Resource

  • To Come

Urban farmers partner to provide produce to schools

Farmers in an urban environment work together to provide local food to schools, each focusing on different aspects of the process: growing, processing, logistics.

Leveraging Food Hubs

A Food Hub could provide receiving, aggregating, processing, storing, and distribution of local produce. The Food Hub would need the capability to wash, chop, shred, julienne and package, with the goal to have food as prepared as possible for schools to cook and serve. The Hub could process extra or unsold produce and freeze or preserve and sell to schools.

Food Hub could also support the develop-ment of transportation routes that allow cost sharing across multiple SFAs, provide forecast-ing for farmers, and facil-itate forward contracting.

Examples

Resource

Develop Searchable Directory

A shared directory enables schools to locate suppliers of specific food items in their area.

Example

Resource

Onsite training for food service staff

Food Hub, co-op, or other experts could provide SFAs with training on how to process foods. After training is completed, experts could provide the SFA with a coupon for a discount on their first purchase of local food.

Matchmaking

Matchmaking events bring producers and buyers together to build relationships and increase local food purchases.

Examples

ACORN Food Hub p. 10
Wisconsin Marketplace Meetings

Resource

Using Food Hubs to Create Sustainable FTS Programs p. 10 

 

New Farm/School Partnerships

Farmers, food service professionals, educators, community partners, extension programs and food hubs partner to ensure culturally relevant foods are available in school.

Examples

Resources

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Partnerships of tribes, Native-led organizations, and school districts support food sovereignty for Native populations.

Examples

Resources

Farm to School Showcase

Suppliers showcase local/regional foods within a school nutrition trade show.

Example

Oregon School Nutrition Association Farm to School Showcase p. 32  

Resource

Farm to School Showcase Toolkit