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Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Detroit Public Schools Explore Opportunities to Purchase More Local Produce
Cleveland Metropolitan School District and the Food Policy Coalition have been continuing their work with School Food FOCUS and the six other large, urban school districts in the Upper Midwest Regional Learning Lab. FOCUS just released a new report, Eating Our Peas and Carrots: Strategies for Expanding K-12 Access to Fruits and Vegetables through Supply Chain Innovation and Investment. The report was prepared by FOCUS in partnership with JoAnne Berkenkamp of Tomorrow's Table with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It provides background information on the current produce supply chains that serve school districts, opportunities to increase regional sourcing, and the strategic investment needed to improve connections between regional producers and school food service programs. As follow up to the findings in the report and the FOCUS meeting in Milwaukee last November, Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) is partnering with Detroit Public Schools (DPS) and FOCUS to identify more opportunities for regional sourcing of fruits and vegetables. CMSD, DPS, FOCUS, and FPC met with DNO Produce in Columbus in miod-January to learn more about their strategies for local sourcing, opportunities for processing, and new fresh, regionally sourced produce items that both DPS and CMSD would be interesting in purchasing and serving their students. Next week school districts and their partners will convene in Oakland for the School Food FOCUS National Gathering and share updates on their progress.