The North Carolina Farm to School Program was formed through a partnership between the Department of Defense and the Markets and Food Distribution Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 1997.
The program began by testing the market for Red and Golden Delicious apples grown in Western North Carolina. After the success in Western North Carolina, the North Carolina Farm to School Program was expanded throughout the State. All school districts in North Carolina have the ability to be part of the North Carolina Farm to School Program and in 2004, about sixty school districts took advantage of this opportunity.
The North Carolina Farm to School Program is run through a collaborative effort between the Markets and Food Distribution Divisions of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Affairs and the Department of Defense. Food Distribution surveys North Carolina schools to determine the quantity of produce that the school can use and then turns the total quantities over to the Department of Defense which works with the Markets Division to locate farmers to procure the product. Food Distributions administers the efficient delivery system. Department workers pick up the produce from farmers on Sunday and deliver the items to schools and school systems' centralized storage facilities on Monday. The Department of Defense handles the financial side of the program, which involves price negotiation and billing. The Department of Defense bills the schools for payment and then administers payment to the farmers.
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