Farm to School Taskforce


2016 State of Farm to School in San Diego County Report

Cover of 2016 F2S Report

The third State of Farm to School in San Diego County Report reveals growth in farm to school. Forty San Diego County school districts (95%) participated in this years's survey providing a comprehensive assessment of school food procurement and farm to school activities in San Diego County-- and perhaps the most comprehensive assessment of a county's school food procurment in the United States.

A few highlights from this year's report are included below:

  • School district spent $6.9 million on local and regional foods in 2014-2015, an over 120% increase since last year's reported local purchasing.
  • In the 2014-2015 school year, 33 districts in the County conducted some type of farm-to-school activities.
  • Over 25 districts in the County collectively operate a total of over 200 school gardens.
  • 20 districts participate in Harvest of the Month (HOTM) at some level.
  • F2S Taskforce members account for 85% of all meals served in the County, operate 90% of all school gardens, and make 95% of all local foods purchases. Member districts are more likely to conduct more F2S activities, purchase local foods, and participate in shared procurement activities like HOTM.
  • Since 2012/13, F2S in the cafeteria has increased by 50%, F2S in the classroom has doubled, and school garden programming has tripled.

The report also provides sest of recommendations to further advance farm to school.

For more information, download a full copy of the State of Farm to School in San Diego County Report.

The San Diego County Farm to School Taskforce (SDCF2ST) is a subcommittee of the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative (Initiative), a project facilitated by Community Health Improvement Partners, and supported through partnerships with the San Diego Hunger Coalition (SDHC) and Whole Foods Market (WFM).

The SDCF2ST first began meeting in 2010 after WFM Hillcrest brought together San Diego Unified School District food services and local growers to begin dialogue on local food procurement in schools. The resulting informal taskforce sought to improve the quality of school meals through whole and locally-sourced foods-a goal of WFM's "School Lunch Revolution" campaign. Recognizing the economic, environmental and health benefits of local foods, WFM invited the Initiative to co-lead the effort to expand the project's reach countywide. In 2011, SDHC joined the Taskforce to further support the work of the SDCF2ST.

In January 2013, the SDCF2ST completed a strategic plan that outlines its vision, mission, and goals, which include:


San Diego County schoolchildren enjoy healthy foods that maximize seasonal and local products that bolster student achievement and wellness.


The San Diego County Farm to School Taskforce (SDCF2ST) is a collaborative effort to increase consumption of local, healthful, seasonal foods and to improve food literacy within schools.


  1. Increase education and awareness about the connection between regional food systems and student health and well-being.
  2. Create and foster opportunities for collaboration among farm to school stakeholders.
  3. Increase farm to school in San Diego County school districts.
  4. Promote San Diego County farm to school activities.
  5. Increase opportunities to advance and enhance farm to school through policy.

The San Diego County Farm to School Taskforce defines local product in three-tiers:

  • Local- Grown or raised within San Diego County
  • Regional- Grown/raised in California within 250 miles of San Diego County Line and within California
  • California- Grown/raised within the State of California

Materials Developed in Support of the SDC F2ST:

Strategic Plan The strategic plan outlines the vision, mission, goals, and activities of the SDC F2S Taskforce in 2014-2015. It also includes a glossary of common terms used in farm to school in San Diego County.
F2ST Overview This document provides a brief overview of the Taskforce, its structure, and its strategic plan for 2014-2015.

State of Farm to School in San Diego County Report

The State of Farm to School in San Diego County Report provides a countywide assessment of school food procurement and farm to school activities. The report measures farm to school participation and progress from the report's baseline year, identifies common needs and concerns, and recommends oppopportunities to systematically strengthen and expand farm to school activities.
USDA Presentation on Procuring Local Produce, April 10, 2015 USDA representatives provided a workshop for the San Diego Farm to School Taskforce on different ways to preference local food in produce bids.

2015-2016 Grower Engagement & Crop Availability Report

Infographic: Grower Engagement & Crop Availability

The 2015-2016 Grower Engagement and Crop Availability Report projects the availability of fresh, local produce for interested institutional buyers.  This report is designed to help facilitate direct purchases from local farms by schools, hospitals, and other institutional buyers.  Other sections of the report include information on overall farm characteristics, the local branding campaign "San Diego Grown 365" and current institutional sales of local produce.
Questions to Ask Your Vendor/Distributor When Trying to Source from Small, Local, and Sustainable Farms This document provides school food services with basic tips for speaking with their vendors/distributors about local procurement. It provides guidance on terms like local, sustainable, and small farms to ensure a productive conversation between you and your vendor.
Let's Go Local: Recommendations for Linking Locally Grown Food, School Gardens, and Joint-Use Agreements to School Wellness Policies This provides districts with recommendations for integrating support for farm to school, including local purchasing and schools gardens, into local school district wellness policies.
Individual Farm to School District Profiles
Each 1-page profile provides concise information on food procurement and farm to school programming at that school district, as well as contact information for growers and distributors interested in selling to them.
Why Local Matters: A Primer for Schools
This 2-page primer outlines some of the major reasons why local purchasing is good for students, schools, and communities, as well as brief context and reliable sources for the San Diego County Farm to School Taskforce's evidence-based efforts. It also includes the F2S Taskforce's multi-tiered definition of "local" and a map of that definition.
Harvest of the Month Calendar: 2015-2016
This calendar, adapted for San Diego County by Network for a Healthy California and the San Diego County Farm to School Taskforce, helps institutions aggregate fresh produce from local growers.
Harvest of the Month Overview
This brief presentation explains the purpose and vision for Harvest of the Month in San Diego County, as well as information on how the project will run and some of the relevant product specifications that the F2S Taskforce has gleaned from surveys and conversations with institutions and growers.
Growers Workshop Presentation-2014
This presentation, given at the San Diego County Farm Bureau on Tuesday, September 16, 2014, describes to growers why farm to school is important, how it can help them, several models for how it can work, things they need to be aware of when considering selling to schools, and various resources for navigating the farm to school process, including ones developed by the Farm Bureau and the Farm to School Taskforce.




Procurement Resources for Districts





How to Apply a Geographic Preference: The purpose of this USDA memorandum, SP_18-2011, released February 1, 2011, is to provide information on the application of the geographic preference option in the procurement of unprocessed locally grown or locally raised agricultural products.

USDA Memo on Geographic Preferences Q&A: This document contains highlights and major points from the aforementioned memo.

School Food FOCUS & Georgetown Law, Geographic Preference Primer: School Food FOCUS is a national collaborative that leverages the knowledge and procurement power of large school districts to make school meals nationwide more healthful, regionally sourced, and sustainably produced. FOCUS and Georgetown Law School's Harrison Institute for Public Law collaborated to produce this extensive, accessible primer on geographic preference, the legal authority for it, and different ways that school districts can use it to promote local procurement.

California Farm to School

The California Farm to School program helps schools connect to local farms in order to serve more healthy school cafeteria meals. This website provides Calfornia-state specific resources including state policy that supports pfarm to school programs, funding opportunities, and reports on the benefits of farm to school.

Defining Local: San Diego Unified School District's (SDUSD) Farm to School Program

This PowerPoint presentation describes the SDUSD's goals, definitions, and criteria for the Farm to School Program.

Farm to School: Goals and Definitions

This document provides a full description of major terms used to describe SDUSD Farm to School Program.

SDUSD Informal Bid for Local Produce

Food service directors can adapt this document to solicit bids for local produce from growers. According to federal and California state law, school districts may use the informal bid process for purchases of $87,800 or less.

SDUSD Open Invitiation to Distributors to Present on Their Local Produce Programs

Food service directors can use this document to guide discussions with distributors. They may also adapt the invitation to solicit information on distributors' local produce programs.

SDUSD Request for Proposal Fresh Produce

Food service directors can use this document as a model for the inclusion of local product language in their formal produce bid. The RFP includes a three-tiered definition of local and requests for farm to school services (e.g., education, product, etc.).

Poway Unified School District 2012 Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Bid

Food service directors can use this document as a model for the inclusion of local product language in their formal produce bid. The bid includes language in support of Harvest of the Month. It also reserves the district's right to solicit quotations for local product and purchase local product when financially beneficial to the district.

Julian School Districts' F2S Goals & HOTM Calendar

This short document lists, for comparison, the broad goals of Julian School Districts' comprehensive Farm to School program and the fruits and vegetables that are assigned to each month for their Harvest of the Month program.

National Farm to School Network

The National Farm to School Network envisions a nation in which Farm to School programs are an essential component of strong and just local and regional food systems. This website provides resources in the form of case studes, policy briefs, evaluation tools, and curricular activites to support and promote Farm to School programs nation-wide.

SDUSD Farm to School Goals

This handout describes the six goals of the Farm to School program in the San Diego Unified School District.

USDA Resources: Fact Sheets

These USDA fact sheets demystify some of the complex system of local and fresh produce procurement: a summary of USDA F2S grants, how to use geographic preferences in the school food bidding process, how local product can be procured through the DoD Fresh program, what constitutes F2S generally, how the USDA Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program works, tips on selling local food to schools, and how USDA Foods can be used to further local procurement. More resources can be viewed at

Further USDA Resources

The USDA also provides lists of other F2S-related resources on specific topics.

Harvest of the Month

Harvest of the Month Fresh Produce Handling & Serving Guide

This guide, developed for School Food Service by the Community Alliance with Family Farmers Farm to School Program, and provides information on peak season, storage and handling, and what to expect from a local farm for 34 Harvest of the Month produce items, as well as recipe ideas to use in school meal programs.
Big Ideas: Linking Food, Culture, Health, and the Environment: A New Alignment with Academic Standards This curriculum was created in conjunction with National Geographic's series on "The Future of Food" (2014) and aligns with numerous academic standards, including the Common Core. Educators may find it useful for integrating food and nutrition education into the classroom.

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