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 2021 Maine Farm to School Cook-off

The challenge ingredients for this year’s
Cook-off are:

Local Eggs and Parsnips



South Portland Kaler Kooks
RSU 12 Whitefield Wildcats

These two teams will advance to the Farm to School Cook-off Finals Competition on May 5, 2021
in the Child Nutrition Culinary Classroom in Augusta.


Follow this link below to see what the teams from RSU 12, RSU 14, RSU 54 and South Portland cooked up...

The Farm to School Cook-off is an annual, statewide culinary competition among school nutrition professionals and students, to promote local foods in school meals. This year’s cook-off is following in the footsteps of schools and going with a hybrid model!

  • Round 1- virtual cook-off. Teams will submit videos of their breakfast and lunch meals to be posted on the Child Nutrition website, where voting will take place. The top two teams will advance to round 2. (Voting ended April 2nd)
  • Round 2- final cook-off. The top teams will compete in the Child Nutrition Culinary Classroom in Augusta! We will announce the 2021 Farm to School Cook-off champion. Please note all necessary precautions will be taken, including face coverings and social distancing of teams in the culinary classroom.   

The challenge ingredients for this year’s cook-off, donated from Maine farms, will be eggs for breakfast and parsnips for lunch. Don’t miss out on this fun opportunity!

2021 Cook-off Team Rules and Guidelines

Farm to School Cookbooks

Click Here for the 2020 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off Cookbook!!

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.

Benefits of Farm to School
Checklist for purchasing local (pdf) provided by Iowa State University
Farm Field Trip Toolkit from Oregon Farm to School link to USDA
Food Safety Checklist
Getting started with Farm to School
Maine Agriculture in the Classroom
Maine Seafood Guide link to Maine Sea Grant
Pecks to Pounds translation chart (pdf)
Tracking local purchases tool (xls)


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.

Harrison Institute Report on Geographic Preference A primer on purchasing fresh local food for schools

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

Crown O' Maine Organic Cooperative Vassalboro, ME

Additional Resources

Alaska's Guide to Serving Local Fish in School Cafeterias
Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested Program- Contact the Gulf of Maine Research Institute for more information on sourcing seafood from our region, and for information on suppliers participating in the Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested program.
Healthy Acadia Farm to School serves Hancock and Washington counties with School Supported Agriculture (SSA) , The Apple Project, School Gardens, and more.
Maine Food Corps Maine's page of the nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardner's Association (MOFGA)
Maine School Garden Network promotes and supports educational gardens for youth in school programs.
Massachusetts Farm to School Cookbook On the Farm Food Safety Project comprehensive national program that offers fruit and vegetable farmers, food safety professionals, and agricultural extension specialists technical assistance to utilize and teach best practices in food safety.
USDA Farm to School FAQs
USDA Farm To School Information
Vermont Feed recipes available in resources section of their website
Vermont New School Cuisine Cookbook


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