Tucson Unified School District wants to bring more local, healthy eats to its schools, so the district is partnering up with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and a network of local farmers.
The purpose is to provide students with fresh meals, as well as help out farmers from Tucson and other Southern Arizona lands.
“It’s a great opportunity to help our children get the proper nourishment they need to become the leaders of tomorrow. We’re also glad to expand our local support for Arizona farmers, which will now include small farms within a close proximity to the community we serve," says Shirley Sokol, TUSD's director of Food Services, in a statement.
From a TUSD press release:
Regional small farmers grow high-quality, nutrient-dense produce, but they face ongoing challenges to find stable and consistent markets for their products. Through the coordination of planting and harvesting schedules, farmers can work together to build up larger volumes of product and then sell it to institutional buyers, including Tucson Unified School District.
With its existing warehouse storage and refrigerated trucks, the Community Food Bank is well-positioned to manage these efforts and oversee the farmers as they enter into the larger marketplace. Additional grant funding from the USDA will go to coordinating and planning for the future of the partnership.
Michael McDonald, CEO at the Community Food Bank says, “Everyone wins in this partnership. Kids get to enjoy fresh, local produce, and learn about the diverse crops that flourish in our region; local food producers increase sales; and the money stays in Tucson to benefit our local economy. The Food Bank couldn’t be more excited to be part of this.”
Kara Jones, Farmers’ Market Manager at the Community Food Bank, will oversee the partnership. She says, “Tucson Unified School District has proven its commitment to local produce and to our community’s health and economic stability. It’s all very much in line with our vision of a healthy, hunger-free future and we’re glad to have the opportunity to participate in such innovative work.”