Monday's LA Times reported on a new school lunch program in Castle Rock, CO that serves locally raised, grass-fed, hormone-free beef. The school is experiencing higher participation rates in their school lunch program as a result of the healthier menu items they are offering.
Castle Rock is not the only district that is attempting to source locally raised, healthier food for their students, as the growth of the National Farm to School Network can attest. So why aren't all school districts making the switch to the more popular healthy items? Unfortunately, a number of barriers still exist.
In order to sell their meat to a local school district, the meat must be slaughtered in a USDA-certified facility. Farm to School staffer Deb Eschmeyer reminds us that "Independent ranchers in states such as Wyoming don't even have access to a USDA certified slaughtering facility in their state."
The farm to school movement is largely locally grown itself, and that's part of it's strength. But there are federal policies that make it difficult for some farmers and school districts to move towards healthier school lunches.