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Collards in the Cafeteria

Nestled in the agricultural heart of North Carolina, Gaston County schools are attempting to source 10% of their produce locally. Students love the addition of fresh, local strawberries and watermelons to their menu, but how about collards? Collards In the Cafeteria follows the journey of this nutrient rich leafy green from the fields to the county's Central Kitchen, where they are cooked and processed in a Wonka-like fashion for cafeteria service the following day. Frank Fields, Director of School Nutrition, shares the secret of the final step; getting students to try and, perhaps, even love this classic Southern side dish.


Sourcing Local

Youth Engagement Programs

NCDA Farm to School Program

Find out more about the NC Department of Agriculture Farm to School Program, watch a video on how it works, find out if your school is participating, and learn what you can do to garner support from your legislators.

Farm to School/Institution Resources

NC Farm to Early Care and Education (NC F2ECE) connects local farms with local childcare centers to empower the development of community-based, equitable food systems.  

Check out this Farm to School Toolkit created by the US Department of Agriculture.

Additional resources can be found at the National Farm to School Network website.

The North Carolina Public School Kitchen Capacity Report Study: Health Foods, Farms, and Kids, from researchers at the School of Government (UNC-CH) and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (NCSU), reports findings from a survey conducted with Child Nutrition Directors and cafeteria managers. The 2014 survey was designed to shed light on the ability of school kitchens to serve farm-fresh foods and to identify possible leverage points for increasing the amount and variety of these foods served in school cafeterias.​

For more resources, check out the NC Cooperative Extension Local Food Web Portal.

Film Screening Toolkit

Are you interested in screening this video to garner support for Farm to School in your area? Host a film screening event!


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