West Virginia’s Farm To School effort is spearheaded by the West Virginia Farm To School Community Development Group (WVFTSCDG), a public/private task force made up of the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, The West Virginia University Extension Small Farm Center, New Appalachian Farm and Research Center, and the Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia. The goals of the group are to increase the amount of local foods served in schools and to develop the next generation of farmers in West Virginia. Schools purchased $650,000 worth of food from local sources in 2013-2014, nearly double the $350,000 they spent in 2012-2013. Student vendors supplied $50,000 worth of food.
The biggest hurdle for the state’s Farm To School program is finding enough producers. West Virginia schools spend $100 million a year on food and, despite recent gains, local farmers are capturing only a small fraction of that total. Buying decisions are made at the county level, but school nutrition directors typically look for salad bar items, fresh fruit, eggs and most recently, local meat. If you can help fill any of these needs, contact Leslie Boggess at 304-558-2210, firstname.lastname@example.org, and she will help you find the right outlet for your products