USDA Grant Launches Farm to School Assessment in Bristol Bay

Have you ever wondered why the USDA surveys farms to find out what food is being grown where?

Well, here’s part of the reason.

The Alaska Division of Agriculture’s Farm to School program coordinator, Jodie Anderson, will be working with a $100,000 federal grant to find out where food is being grown in the Bristol Bay region so it can be sourced for school lunch programs.

In an interview last week with KDLG’s Avery Lill, Anderson explained:

“One of the things that I really want to do through this is develop a regional specific sourcebook to gather people together who are growing food to see where food is happening, where it’s growing, who’s doing it and then how do we connect each other to those growers so that we can get it to the schools.”

She’s starting this assessment in the Bristol Bay region and will be using the area as a pilot program in order to get local foods in lunch rooms by the 2018-2019 school year. She’ll be looking at resources and producers that could be sourced from for the Dillingham City School District, Bristol Bay Borough School District, Southwest Region School District and the Lake and Peninsula School District.

Anderson is aiming for the knowledge and tools gained through this phase of the project to work as a template to expand the program throughout the state, and that it will eventually increase local spending and encourage students to try new food by learning about where they come from. She also hopes her work here will alleviate some of the burden from school administrators to source local foods on their own, and thus increase the presence of Alaska grown in school cafeterias.

“The state has in the past been able to open the doors with that,” says Briggs. “Farm to School is, yes, to get food into the schools. But part of what comes from this is just the realization in our communities that we can produce and that we can supply these things locally to any of the establishments that are there.”


Listen to the full story: Alaska Farm to School receives USDA grant, will focus efforts on Bristol Bay | KDLG

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