Iowa schools to celebrate Local Food Day on Oct. 14

Teresa Wiemerslage and Leigh Adcock
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

AMES, Iowa — Iowans will celebrate the third annual statewide Local Food Day on Oct. 14, as part of National Farm to School Month.

Iowa Local Food Day will bring together all sectors of farm to school. The goals are to:

  • Provide a strong support network.
  • Aid food service directors in procuring local foods.
  • Engage more growers in growing and selling to schools.
  • Help growers ramp up school sales by working on a smaller scale with summer food service programs.
  • Allow farm to school activities to expand beyond fruits and vegetables.
  • Raise awareness of farm to school across the state.

To participate, schools must serve at least two locally sourced items for breakfast or lunch. Local foods can include produce, meat, eggs and dairy (except milk). Participation can be just one school or all schools within a district. Early care centers and in-home daycares, colleges and universities can also participate.

Teresa Wiemerslage, farm to school field specialist for Farm, Food and Enterprise Development with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, said last year, 290 schools and early care sites participated, serving 107,900 meals sourced from local Iowa producers. Every participant said they are interested in increasing local purchases in the future.

“We are very excited about this year’s celebration. The pandemic has definitely changed how schools are feeding kids, but the desire to celebrate Iowa food and farms is strong,” said Wiemerslage.

ISU Extension and Outreach’s Farm, Food and Enterprise Development program is one of the partners in the project. Iowa Farm to School Day is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

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