Local Foods to Local Schools

An increasing number of Maine schools are sourcing food locally and providing complementary educational activities that teach students about food, farming, and nutrition. This farm to school movement not only ensures our children are receiving healthy meals, it supports our local economy and rich tradition of agriculture.

The 2020 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off
The cook-off is an annual competition among students and school nutrition staff, featuring Maine grown ingredients, organized by the Maine Child Nutrition office. As an alternative, a virtual Farm to School Cook-off was offered to participating teams to showcase their prepared meals in a virtual format.

Thank you to RSU 54's Team Sonday for their great recipes and videos!

RSU 54 - Breakfast

Team Sonday from RSU 54 created a delicious and fun breakfast using Maine Grains local oats!

  • Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie
  • Banana Octopus
  • Milk
RSU 54 - Lunch

Team Sonday used the local challenge ingredient (ground beef from Common Hill Farm) to create a tasty lunch!

  • Taco Mashup Bowl
  • Mexican Fruit Salad
  • Salsa & Sour Cream
A special thanks to the 2020 Cook-Off challenge ingredient donators. Maine Grain Alliance donated Maine-grown rolled oats, and Common Hill Farm in Jackson donated the grass-fed ground beef!

2019 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off

The 4th Annual Maine Farm to School Cook-Off was another success! Teams of two, consisting of a student and school nutrition professional, were tasked to prepare a breakfast and lunch meal that meets the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program requirements. Each meal was prepared with at least two ingredients that were grown, raised, caught or manufactured in the State of Maine as well as one USDA food. Challenge ingredients were incorporated into each meal including local apples donated from Ricker Hill Orchards for breakfast and dried black beans donated by Fairwinds Farm for lunch. A panel of judges consisting of a student, school nutrition director, and professional chef scored the dishes based on presentation, taste, creativity, and feasibility to be used in a school breakfast or lunch program, as well as food safety and time management.  

Three regional cook-off’s took place at the Lake Region Vocational Center, Bath Regional Career and Technical Center and Eastern Maine Community College in March 2019 and the final cook-off was held at the Kennebec Valley Community College, Alfond Campus in April. Thank you to the following teams for participating in this year’s cook-off: Falmouth, RSU 54, Yarmouth, Auburn, RSU 12, Cherryfield, South Portland, RSU 22 and RSU 38. Stay tuned for the 2019 Farm to School Cook-off cookbook!

Congratulations to our 2019 Champions from RSU 12-Chelsea Elementary School!
2019 Cook Off Champions


A few of RSU 12-Chelsea Elementary School Winning Recipes

Breakfast Beetle Bug
Breakfast Pizza
Creamy Chicken Taco Soup

Click Here for the 2019 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off Cookbook!!

 Click Here for the 2018 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off Cookbook!!

Click Here for the 2017 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off Cookbook!!

Click Here for the 2016 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off Cookbook!!

The following resources are provided to help schools in their efforts to increase locally sourced food.

Local Produce Fund

Local Produce Fund was established within the Maine Department of Education. The local produce fund is authorized to receive revenue from public/private sources and the State budget.

Geographic Preference and Buying Local

Geographic Preference Option. When purchasing fresh local foods, school districts must navigate three levels of procurement law – federal, state, and local. Consult FNS memoranda SP18-2011, Procurement Geographic Preference Q&As and SP03-2012, Procurement Geographic Preference Q&As Part II, for common questions on the implementation of the geographic preference option.

School Gardens and Product Usage

Product from school gardens can not be processed and then sold/transferred to the food service program. This includes canning, preserving, etc. Product can be washed, cut and/or frozen. Drying fruit would be considered processing and must be licensed to be done in a commercial kitchen. Home processing of this type is not allowed for School Food Service Department use.

Maine Food Producer Directories

Additional Resources


For more information or questions about Local Foods for Local Schools please contact a Child Nutrition staff member.