Farm to School Month

What does an ideal school meal look like? We would like to think it looks like a thoughtfully prepared meal made with local, fresh and nutritious ingredients! Our Shared Food Services team works every day to ensure we are striving for that goal and bringing the best to our students in the Capital Region and beyond. And in honor of National Farm to School Month, we wanted to take the time to highlight some of the amazing work our team and our farm partners do.

What is Farm to School?

The New York State Farm to School program was created to connect schools and students with local farms and food producers. Not only does this support local farmers, but it provides healthy food choices in schools and strengthens the local economy.

Farm fresh food enhances the quality of school meals, introduces students to new foods and offers districts an added cost savings through its 30% initiative.

30% Initiative

In 2018, New York State passed a law that increased state reimbursement for the purchase of New York State food products for school lunch programs. Specifically, school food authorities (SFAs) that spend at least 30 percent of total food costs for the school lunch program on NYS food products in the preceding year are eligible for additional state reimbursement.

How does Capital Region BOCES help?

Our farm-to-school coordinators focus on building relationships with farmers across New York State so schools can reap the benefits.

We often work with local food hubs that help identify farmers across New York for us to partner with. Sometimes, the team will even scout local farmers markets to find prospective farms.

The program also allows educational experiences for the students, from farmers coming into the school for demonstrations to field trips that take the students right to the farm. We then incorporate an item into the school menu that is grown on the visited farm so the students can be fully immersed in the experience.

The Greater Johnstown School District, a Shared Food Services client and farm to school participant, has built relationships with farm partners like Roger’s Family Orchards. The orchard, located right in Johnstown, delivers apples to the district weekly for the past few years. It is local partnerships like these that make this initiative evermore special.

Our farm partners

The partnerships we create with local farms are mutually beneficial—whether the perk is opening a new revenue stream for the farm or it’s a student experiencing how food is grown in their region.

Thank you to our incredible partners for helping feed our students local and delicious foods!

  • Antonucci Foods
  • Chobani
  • Great Lakes Cheese
  • Headwater Food Hub
  • Indian Ladder Farms
  • Juliano Farms
  • Midland Farms
  • Mott’s
  • New York Chips
  • New York Juice Co.
  • Smith Packing
  • Wohlschlegel’s Naples Maples Farm
  • Yonder Farms

Learn more about our Shared Food Services

Our Shared Food Service department provides districts with low-cost assistance with programs including food service supervision, school dietician, free and reduced price meal application coordination, and farm-to-school; all to provide area students with nutritious school meals in a cost-effective way. Learn more about how our services can help your district.