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Indiana Grown Launches ‘Farm To Fork’ Guide For Schools To Buy Local

By Brock Turner, IPB News | Published on in Agriculture, Business, Education, Statewide News
Slices of apples from a local orchard are set out for students at Franklin Community High School. (Brock Turner, WFIU/WTIU News)

The state wants to help schools get more locally grown produce into their cafeterias.

Indiana Grown, an organization that promotes local farmers and their products, announced its newest initiative.

It’s a guide for schools and their food service providers that includes information on the farm to fork movement and Indiana Farmers who are interested in getting involved.

Heather Tallman, the organization’s director of Marketing and Communcations, says the seeds for the program were planted a few years ago. She believes students will benefit the most.

“We look at the school lunch room as the state’s biggest restaurant,” she says. “The one commonality that’s between any student that walks in any door in any school—public or private—is they all have to eat.”

Franklin Community School Corporation food service director Jill Overton has been relying on local farmers for her products for a few years.

“We’re not having to pick through or toss out some that have not held up through the distribution process so I think you’d also have to factor in that that’s a little bit of a savings sometimes as well,” she says. “Even though the per pound cost might’ve been a little more to begin with.”

More than 200 hundred farmers from across the state are included.

Indiana Health Department officials helped create the guide and say there is some progress being made.  They’re optimistic that giving school children good tasting, healthy food is one way to combat childhood obesity which doctors say contributes to a number of health related problems. Indiana ranks 13th in the country for its high childhood obesity rate.