Farm to School meetings to bring local food to youth across ND

Farm-to-table corn
Farm-to-table corn(KFYR-TV)
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 5:19 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is holding farm-to-school meetings across the state through December to help get local food to youth with the help of producers.

Bismarck schools are serving farm-to-table corn this year.

Jonathon Moser, co-owner of Forager Farms in Mandan, sells produce to Bismarck schools and he said he’s passionate about helping produce local food for them.

“Because it’s grown for different reasons. It’s not grown for ship-ability. It’s grown for flavor. It’s grown for quality. And so we want to provide those things to the community, whether that be through farm-to-school or direct-to-consumer,” said Moser.

At the meetings, farmers collaborate with teachers, daycare providers and others interested in child nutrition.

“And then, you know, there’s an inherent risk working with a local farmer. He might get hailed out, you know, there’s those sort of things that the institutions have to take into account as well. But I think the quality of what we can bring when it’s good, it’s good,” said Moser.

The North Dakota Agriculture and Public Instruction Departments received federal funding from the USDA to get the program exposure.

“The growth from this and the enhancement is really going to uptick now that there are state agencies involved to help make those connections and let them know that there’s policies and guidelines and things, really as a resource, and to be there as a support in it as well,” said Amanda Olson, farm-to-school specialist.

The meetings also cover the financial side and how to pay for the programs. At the first meeting, attendees discussed asking school boards to budget money to buy local food.

“So we really want to show producers that it’s really not hard to do farm-to-school. I think there’s a lot of hesitation. People think there’s a lot of barriers,” said Katrina Hanenberg, local foods marketing specialist.

The NDDA will hold four more meetings across the state.

Another project DPI is working on is to create garden spaces so schools and daycares can grow their own food.