Last Saturday at the Oak Park Farmers’ Market, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn authorized legislation that will make it easier for schools to obtain locally-grown food and will contribute to the growth of farm-to-school programs across Illinois. The legislation will create an electronic database on the state Department of Agriculture web site that helps schools connect with local farmers.
This exciting new legislation comes just as Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality for Chicago Public Schools has issued a request for information [pdf] asking Illinois farmers to contract for $500,000 of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. This is in addition to the $1.8 million in local farm products purchased last year and served in Chicago Public Schools.
From the press release [pdf] announcing this request:
“We want apples, peaches pears, broccoli, beans, potatoes and other fruits and vegetables grown by Illinois farmers to serve nearly 305,000 students in 481 schools every day,” said Bob Bloomer, regional vice president for Chartwells-Thompson. “This is good for local farmers and great for Chicago students.”
This expanded local procurement program is part of a commitment to meet the new nutritional standards adopted by the Chicago Board of Education and to exceed the the USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge gold standard guidelines for school food.
We invite farmers and producers to respond to the request for information [pdf] at FamilyFarmed.org by August 13, 2010.
- Read the full article in The Chicago Tribune
- See the press release [pdf]
- Download the request for information [pdf]