Creating successful Farm to School Programs in Florida: A County-wide Feasibility Study of Direct, Local Procurement

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2015: $11,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2016
Grant Recipient: University of Florida
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Ray Bucklin
University of Florida

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: berries (blueberries), berries (strawberries), citrus, melons, grapefruit, ugli fruit, tangerines,
  • Vegetables: beans, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, greens (leafy), greens (lettuces), onions, radishes (culinary), sweet corn, tomatoes, kale,
  • Additional Plants: herbs
  • Animal Products: eggs


  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, networking
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, budgets/cost and returns, business planning, community-supported agriculture, cooperatives, farm-to-institution, feasibility study, market study
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, food hubs, infrastructure analysis, local and regional food systems, public policy, social networks, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Purchasing locally grown food for use in school cafeterias is attractive for many reasons.  The health of children in public schools improves because of increased access to better, more nutritious foods.  Additionally, children benefit as they learn and connect with food grown near their homes.  When paired with nutrition education, those children learn and develop long term dietary habits that promote a healthy lifestyle in adulthood. Local farmers benefit with new markets for their commodities and can minimize price uncertainty with forward contracts. These producers are able to obtain a buyer and negotiate a price for their products before harvest. Purchasing locally grown food also benefits many others within the community. When local businesses thrive, employment rises and as a result, economic welfare in that community increases.    While the benefits of F2S programs have been described in some detail, very little research has been conducted regarding direct procurement of local fruits and vegetables. This project seeks to describe current and existing procurement activities in Farm to School (F2S) programs within Florida to identify opportunities for expanding direct, local procurement within the state.  Sarasota County, Florida will be used a model for study, with the outcome of applying this information to additional counties and beyond in the future.  Data for production, distribution, sales and school lunch participation information is to be collected, organized, analyzed and interpreted.  This information is to be included in a feasibility analysis to determine if direct procurement of local fruits and vegetables in Sarasota County is viable.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1




    Describe current F2S food systems in Florida, and identify opportunities for expanding procurement within the state. Objective




    Objective 2




    Collect, organize, analyze, and interpret data for volume and cost of production, distribution, processing and food reimbursement for selected fresh commodities produced in or surrounding Sarasota County in the State of Florida.




    Objective 3




    Determine if a F2S supply chain operating within Sarasota County Florida meets the market, operational, technical and economic needs of school food authorities (SFAs) and producers by conducting a feasibility analysis.   

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.