Selling to schools is a great way for farmers to expand their market. Most schools highlight local farmers on school lunch menus and in newsletters to parents that can expand awareness of your products. Along with expanding your market you are also making an impact to enhance the nutrition of the children and staff of the school and potentially to their families.
Prepare to sell to schools by:
Building relationships. Connect with the school to identify their needs. Complete the ‘Checklist for Farms Selling Produce to Local K-12 Schools’ and ‘Grower Product and Availability Form’ on this page to share with schools. Invite school personnel to visit your farm.
- Connect with a ‘Buy Local’ campaign, county extension office or other local food organizations. They promote local foods and may be able to help connect you to schools.
- Get directly involved. In addition to selling products farmers can be a guest speaker, host field trips or help with other activities to promote eating local fresh and nutritious foods.
- Determine schools produce and volume needs. Common local foods used in school meals are apples, melons, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach and zucchini. In working with schools, farmers can identify needs and increase production of needed items.
Schools have to adhere to specific guidelines when purchasing foods such as:
- Safety standards
- Liability requirements
- Ordering procedures
- Payment procedures
- Packaging requirements
Schools have to follow purchasing guidelines, here are some resources to help understand them: