Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Food & Nutrition Division
- 405 S. 21st St. Sparks, NV 89431
School food services play a vital role in providing nutritious meals and snacks to Nevada's children. Farm to school (F2S) encompasses any initiative that connects K-12 schools with regional or local products. F2S objectives include improving student nutrition; encouraging education on health, nutrition and agriculture; supporting economic development of local farmers; and promoting environmentally sound agriculture with shortened food distribution routes. Most schools want to procure locally but are concerned about food safety. Food service directors will need to ensure a producer has a food safety plan and work directly with them to meet both the school's need and producer's ability.
Once the details of food safety have been addressed, planning budgets, creating menus, integrating local foods and educational content can fall into place. Some schools may already serve local items, but the distributor doesn't label the product local; or, it may be as easy as substituting a local item into an already created menu. For example, majority of milk served in school lunches comes from a local source and is unknown. A school might also consider developing new recipes with the specific intent of featuring local foods. To learn more on integrating local foods into school meals check out the USDA Guide to Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs.
Risk Management and Food Safety
Food safety practices should be considered every step of the way from how food is grown in the field to how food is served on the plate. When purchasing local food, some schools require farms to have a certification, such as Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), or insurance requirements, but not all. The USDA has a Frequently Asked Questions about Food Safety that address buying local food for school meals.
As well, the Nevada Department of Agriculture has information and resources for the Good Agriculture Practices and Good Handling Practices Program.