Moving Local Food into Local Schools Project (Farm to School)
The University of Massachusetts Amherst has undertaken a project to create an efficient distribution system for delivery of local produce to the Amherst, Belchertown, Holyoke and Chicopee School Districts in the Pioneer Valley. UMASS Amherst will receive $7,000 do to so as part of the "Moving Local Food into Local Schools"Â? project. By addressing infrastructure barriers now preventing local schools from buying locally grown products, the project will enable farmers to capture several thousand dollars per week from fruit and produce sales.
Deliveries started the summer of 2004, with one farmer supplying strawberries for the Summer Feeding Program. This program allowed 1,100 youngsters to enjoy fresh produce in lunches in city parks over the summer. This farmer averaged $300 a week in sales and this amount is projected to increase more than three fold during the school year. Another three farmers will supply fruits and vegetables during the fall of 2004. Deliveries to the schools will be made in the University of Massachusetts Amherst orchard's truck. Although eventually growers will share the costs of distribution and transportation, these costs will be maintained because of the development of a distribution system focused on efficiency. The schools chosen to be part of the project are located along a circular route that can be easily traveled in a circular direction.
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