LFS Executive Summary – California

The California Department of Education (CDE) will use the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Grant to strengthen local and regional purchasing relationships between School Food Authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program with local farmers/producers, with a focus on those that are designated as small business or socially disadvantaged. Using October 2021 enrollment as the benchmark for a formula-based method, the CDE will subaward the full federal grant to SFAs for the purpose of developing new, or expanding existing agreements with local vendors for the acquisition of fresh, unprocessed, and minimally processed foods. Local Food for Schools (LFS) funds will be disbursed for purchases during three 90-day periods with technical assistance and digital resources provided to all participants throughout the entire grant period. SFAs participating in the LFS grant will provide quarterly reports on direct purchases made using LFS funds from vendors meeting the grant criteria. As a result of these funds, small business and socially disadvantaged farmers/producers will develop or deepen regional supply chain connections with California schools; additionally, new economic opportunities will be developed not only for these farmers/producers, but also for communities, who will benefit from the reverberation of local purchases. And finally, the schools and students will benefit from the economic support to continue to provide fresh and minimally processed local foods in school meals. The grant project will be conducted in partnership with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Office of Farm to Fork’s Farm to School program.