Cooperative farm-to-school pilot program

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2012: $4,697.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Northeast
State: West Virginia
Project Leader:
Jennifer Poling
West Virginia University Extension

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: melons, apples, berries (blueberries), peaches, berries (strawberries)
  • Vegetables: asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, garlic, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips
  • Additional Plants: herbs


  • Farm Business Management: marketing management, farm-to-institution, market study
  • Sustainable Communities: community planning, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities

    Proposal abstract:

    In Tucker County we do not currently have any farmers who are selling produce directly to schools or public institutions, however there is much interest in beginning a program of this type. We have identified several factors which serve as barriers to direct marketing. Our proposed solution is to develop a pilot program in which school students, through cooperation with the WVU Extension Office assist farmers with harvesting, cleaning, and transporting produce, and also assist with developing the relationship with the county food purchaser(s) to coordinate the supply from the area farmers with the demand of the school lunch program. In essence, the students will serve a similar role to that of a cooperative manager (with supervision) by gathering information about what goods are available and coordinating that with the needs of the schools. Data will be gathered from the pilot program related to how profitable the venture is for farmers, the level of satisfaction of the schools, and the learning experience of the students.The purpose of the project is to facilitate the development of the relationship between local farmers and the school system to create the framework by which sales will continue in the future.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Farmer participants will attend Good Agricultural Practices Training, provided through the WVU Extension Service
    2. Farmer participants will work with the WVU Extension Office and student workers to coordinate available produce
    3. Farmer participants will meet with School Foods Director to discuss ordering and selling procedures

    4. Orders will be sent to schools beginning in June and running through October
    5. School personnel will be surveyed to determine satisfaction with produce
    6. Farmer participants will be surveyed to determine profitability and sustainability of the project

    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.