Local Foods in 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 Maine Farm to School Cook-off is a statewide culinary competition for teams of school nutrition professionals and students to promote local foods in school meals. Each team, consisting of one student and one school nutrition employee, is tasked to prepare meals using specific
recipe guidelines and time restrictions, and will present to a panel of judges.


Farm to School Cookbooks

Download and use these recipes in your school kitchens! Featuring local and USDA ingredients. (Files make take a few minutes to download due to their size)

Click Here for the 2022 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off Cookbook!!
Click Here for the 2021 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off Cookbook!!

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

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



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

The Local Foods Fund ($$ to help you buy local ingredients!)

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

USDA Visit to Keep Ridge Farm


For more information or questions about Local Foods for Local Schools please contact Katie Knowles at katie.knowles@maine.gov