This report, which supports the Center's California Food for California Kids™ initiative, examines 12 important California crops and the purchasing practices of six school districts in the forefront of food service innovation.
It begins to answer such questions as, What crops are available to schools wishing to prepare meals from fresh California ingredients? How significant is California as a source for these crops? To what extent are they being purchased by federal and state school nutrition programs and used in California schools? If some districts are using these crops more than other districts, what makes the difference?
The report documents that the bounty of California agriculture is immense, but that many leading California crops are not reaching the state's students. The striking range of the amounts of these crops purchased by the six surveyed districts, however, suggests how much potential exists for a greater presence of these foods in school meal programs.
It is intended to help school districts recognize how close they are geographically to the sources of many crops and at what times during the school year various crops are being harvested. By illustrating the uses that some districts are making of various crops, the Center hopes to inspire nutrition services directors and give them ideas that they can employ in their districts.