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Kathryn A. Boys, PhD
Angela M. Fraser, PhD
Connecting farms to school foodservice operations is complex. Our purposes in this study were to: (1) identify and assess self-reported benefits and challenges to procurement and use of produce purchased directly from small farms in school foodservice operations, and (2) determine if opinions about procurement from small farms significantly differs between those with and without experience purchasing these products.
An online survey was conducted with child nutrition directors from 3 southeastern states in the United States. Statistical tests assessed differences in opinions between those with and without experience purchasing with these products.
Directors without experience understood the benefits but significantly overestimated the difficulty in obtaining and using these products. Experience shaped director perceptions regarding perceived procurement challenges related to contract terms, ordering challenges, food safety practices, and ability of small farms to supply foodservice needs.
Challenges exist in procuring produce from small farms (eg, lack of coordinated ordering, delivery, and communications processes, insufficient availability of products, and limited value-added processing). Sourcing products directly from these farms is not as onerous as perceived to be. Bridging the identified information gaps could increase participation in farm-to-school programs.
Source: Health Behavior and Policy Review, Volume 8, Number 1, January 2021, pp. 13-27(15)
Publisher: Paris Scholar Publishing Ltd.