The Kentucky Farm to School Program was modeled after the North Carolina approach, which utilizes the Department of Defense (DoD) and its distribution system to bring local farm goods into local schools as part of the DoD Fresh program. This program is a collaborative effort between the USDA, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the University of Kentucky Extension, the Kentucky Department of Education, and the US Department of Defense.
The program was piloted in regions four and eight during its first year. In 2003, the program went statewide. All schools in the state are encouraged and able to request and receive local produce if prices are comparable to out-of state produce.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture facilitates communication between farmers and schools. The DoD provides purchasing expertise, helping to set prices and work with farmers. The DoD also seeks out small-scale farmers and maintains contact with growers.
The program is broadly supported by the State of Kentucky, which has organized the programÔ??s centralized ordering and delivery system. School districts place produce orders in May each year. Contracted produce distributors ship their produce to one of the seven larger distribution sites where it is then shipped to schools. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture inspects and approves distributors before their involvement with farm to school. Farm cooperatives provide the majority of the produce.
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