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National Farm to School Census-see where Ohio Stands
In the final days of National Farm to School month during October, USDA released a nation-wide census of farm to school activity between 2011-2012. Since 2013 when the data collection process began, 8,800 school districts of the 13,914 targeted for responses replied to the census questionnaire and 3,812 of those district reported engaging in farm to school activities. All the questionnaires were provided at the district levels by state agency leads like Departments of Education. You can review the full census or focus in by state. Additionally, Deborah Kane of USDA (National Director of the Federal Farm to School program) released a statement about the impacts of farm to school.
In Ohio, 409 of the 616 public school districts participated in the USDA Census. Of those districts responding, 33% reported participating in farm to school activities (school gardens, curriculum, and local purchasing). Of the approximate $34.7 million spent on food by the school districts, about $4 million was directed locally (with fruit, vegetables and fluid milk making up the majority of what districts are buying). The number one produce item bought by schools were apples (with tomatoes,lettuce, peppers and cucumbers following in respective order). To see the report interface and graphics with some more detail based on voluntary in-depth responses by district, visit USDA's state site here.