Resources for Producers
Marketing Your Products
Farm to school is not a one-size-fits all program, nor does it look the same in every region or district. Think about your products, season, quantities and think about what schools and early care providers exist in your area- what are the right connections to be made? Also, think about what products you have in abundance, and may not have a higher paying market available. For example, many apple-growers find a great market for smaller sized apples that are perfect for young mouths and not as desirable in other markets.
When introducing your business and product(s) to a school food buyer, it can be helpful to offer samples and even offer to come to the cafeteria and do a tasting event with students. Also, consider whether you are willing or interested in offering an educational event such as a farm field trip or a visit to the classroom or lunchroom. Students love to meet the farmer! The Center for Ecoliteracy has a great guide on how to plan a farmer visit to a school.
If you are a value-added producer or processor, you may find a great market in local schools. You will need to make sure your produce meets the school food requirements and there is support available to determine if this is the case, or help you make adjustments to meet school requirements. Contact Amy Gilroy, Farm to School Manager at the Oregon Department of Agriculture for support.
Consider getting listed on the Oregon Harvest for Schools Portal, an on-line directory used by school food buyers and searchable by product and region. To get listed, contact your Regional Hub Lead or OFSSGN.