New Jersey hosts over 700 school districts that participate in USDA federally funded Child Nutrition Programs. Each district runs its food service program independently. Some employ the staff in their kitchens; some contract with food service management companies (FSMC) to employ the labor, purchase the food and run the day-to-day operations in the cafeteria.
New Jersey growers can develop Farm to School relationships directly with schools that are close to their farm or they can tap into selling product to a produce distributor that sells to a number of schools.
I want to host field trips on my farm, is there a guide for this?
The Community Alliance with Family Farmers has created a guide to field trips for farmers. Click here for the guide.
I want to participate in Farm to School, is program training required?
No, there is no program training to be part of the Farm to School program.
How do I connect with schools?
Schools/districts/food management companies may reach out to you, but you are welcome to contact your local schools.
New Jersey Department of Education Directory: click here to see schools close to your farm
Do I have to offer all elements of Farm to School: market, tours, visits, educational outreach, etc.?
No. There are no Farm to School program requirements for you to sell to schools.
*Please note a school using Local Food for Schools (LFS) funds can purchase unprocessed or minimally processed locally grown/produced food items only.
Procurement: What production capacity is expected? District? Single school? On-going procurement? Single small purchase?
These variables are determined by your farm capacity and your agreement(s) with individual schools/districts.
Will I be paid fairly?
Pricing is determined between you and the schools. The Local Food for Schools funding is intended to assist schools in purchasing within local market prices.
Is delivery required? How? When?
These variables are determined by your farm capacity and your agreements(s) with individual schools/districts.
What if my farm is closed during certain months?
Your selling season is your determination and schools may choose to purchase from you when your products are available. Many districts have summer programs and may be interested in purchasing local during the summer months.
What information can I provide to schools interested in purchasing local?
- How do you handle ordering?
- How does your farm invoice and what are your terms of payment?
- How does your farm accept payment?
- Would you be willing to negotiate an alternative arrangement to standard practices?
- What products do you grow and in what volume?
Is there a way to learn more about the school lunch program?
Yes, for a quick guide click here: Bringing the Farm to School Producer Training. If you are a farmer and would like more information, please reach out to us at newjerseyF2S@ag.nj.gov
Growing Fresh Produce for School Nutrition Programs Video
For additional information, please contact:
The NJDA Farm to School Program at 609-292-8662