Over the past few years, many schools in Mississippi have become increasingly interested in serving fresh, locally grown products in school meals. To support these schools and their communities, we are pleased to announce the release of our new guide: “Farm to School in Mississippi: A Step-by-Step Guide to Purchasing Mississippi Products.” This guide is launched today to coincide with the first ever Mississippi Farm to School Week, which will be held annually the first week of October.
Over the past few years, the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic has worked closely with the Mississippi Food Policy Council, as well as farmers, schools, government agencies and other stakeholders in Mississippi to foster the creation of Farm to School Programs in the state. The initial Clinic project was a report on barriers to expanding farm to school in Mississippi, written in spring 2011 (Expanding Farm to School in Mississippi). Following that report, the Food Law and Policy Clinic, working with the Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project, put together a set of specific legislative recommendations (Mississippi Farm to School Legislative Recommendations) that the Mississippi Food Policy Council and the Mississippi Legislative Task Force on Healthy Food Access could use for advocacy for farm to school legislation in 2012. These legislative recommendations were adopted in their entirety by the Mississippi Legislative Task Force on Healthy Food Access, and two of the recommendations were included in bills sponsored during the 2012 legislative session.
Our newest report, the Step-by-Step Guide to Purchasing Mississippi Products, outlines the important steps schools can take to start purchasing locally grown products from Mississippi farmers while complying with state and federal regulations on school food procurement.
Farm to School programs promise to not only improve the nutritional quality of our children’s lunches, but support Mississippi farmers and the local economy. Over the course of the spring 2012 semester, a team of Harvard law students from the Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project and the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic researched Farm to School programs across the country, interviewed school staff, farmers, and other stakeholders in Mississippi, and compiled useful resources to develop this guide.
Read the full report here and let us know what you think in the comments!