The Locally Grown project

Connecting Cafeterias, Classrooms and Communities through Local Food

The goal of the Locally Grown Project is to build a sustainable Farm to School Program in Hillsborough County. In July 2022, Locally Grown Inc., under the fiscal sponsorship of Tampa Urban Benefit (TUB) Farms, received a USDA Farm to School Action Planning Grant to build a team in Hillsborough County focused on creating a sustainable Farm to School Program in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS). Representatives from 30 organizations met four times and provided input and vision that helped to develop a one-year action plan focused on awareness building, networking and alignment.

HCPS Student Nutrition Services is dedicated to increasing the consumption of nutrient dense foods through school meals, with an emphasis on fresh local produce. The planning grant process provided the opportunity to build long term partnerships to streamline local food procurement processes, overcome barriers and help Student Nutrition Services achieve their goals of increasing quality, quantity and variety of local produce offered and consumed. 

The Locally Grown Project is developing in tandem with the launch of a county-wide food system coalition, Homegrown Hillsborough, which has provided considerable collaboration opportunities. Members identified during the planning process will become the Farm to School Coalition, which will be convened by Locally Grown Inc. as part of the Locally Grown Project.

Goal # 1

Formally establish and build capacity of the Farm to School Coalition, including working groups focused on local purchases, food education and gardening.

Goal # 2

Build the relationships and systems needed to increase purchases made by Student Nutrition Services of food and/or supplies from Florida based producers, manufacturers and/or suppliers.

Goal # 3

Connect and align existing food education and gardening opportunities for students to what is happening in the cafeteria.

Ways to Engage

Let’s Grow Together

Support

Sustaining a Farm to School Program requires an investment of time and resources. Your support will ensure that the future of school meals in Hillsborough County will include quality local food as well as education and action opportunities for students to learn about food and farming.

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Want to get involved? We welcome new members to join the Farm to School Coalition. We need engagement from students, parents, school staff, community partners and of course, local farmers.

 

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