LOCAL FOOD POLICY NO EASY TASK - Supermarket buying habits don't apply...


February 11, 2010

Serving Local Food Is

a Daunting Task for

School Districts

As we saw in Columbia, Missouri school districts that search in vain for local food to serve are getting a lesson on “where their food comes from.” I’ll give you a hint: It’s not from the Midwest. Indiana is now running into the same problem:

Indiana school districts are lagging behind the rest of the country in procuring locally grown fruits and vegetables for students.

It turns out that buying local food just isn’t practical for Indiana districts:

“I don’t know what local farmers could grow that could last through a school year, but it would be nice if they could,” said Joanne Baierwalter, food service director for Muncie schools. “Potatoes, maybe, but where would you store them? Who would deliver them?”

Some local food advocates would respond that districts should buy up every local produce item when it’s harvested, then carefully preserve it to serve when school is in session. I’m left wondering: When did districts get out of the business of educating kids in order to become canneries?