Purchasing and serving local foods in our schools not only improves students' health, but also offers a myriad of benefits for the greater community. Switching to locally produced foods improves the quality of the food, increases children's fruit and vegetable consumption, stimulates economic activity, and decreases our carbon footprint. This practice serves our students, schools, community, and the environment.
In Marin County, local foods are acquired through two sources: school gardens and local farmers. Our goal is for 20% of our school meal programs to serve locally-sourced foods.
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By buying food products from our school gardens and local farmers instead of ---, SRCS has decreased its miles by --- and its carbon footprint by ----. <<Insert data>>
Goal: 20% of our school meal programs serve locally-sourced foods
The San Rafael City School District (SRCS) has committed to purchasing local foods to serve in its cafeterias and aims to increase its local procurement each year. One of the biggest differences is that crops are now grown and purchased in season, which affects their taste and students' preference for the food. SRCS purchases 3 to 4 crops per season from our schools gardens to serve in its school meal programs.
Top 12 Crops Bought by SRCS
San Rafael City Schools purchases a variety of crops grown in our school gardens. The graph to the right shows the top 12 crops purchased by SRCS, according to weight. The bars show how many pounds of the crop have been bought by SRCS since June 2016.
Generating Economic Activity
Several studies estimate that for every $1 spent on buying local food, $1.40 to $2.60 of economic activity is generated in the greater community. This "multiplier effect" captures how local food purchases by school districts can have a huge positive impact beyond the cafeteria and throughout the local community.
The graph to the left shows the amount of money San Rafael City Schools (SRCS) has spent on buying fruits and vegetables from our school gardens by year (blue bars).
Using a mid-range multiplier of 2, the graph also estimates how much economic activity has been generated as a result of this local spending (red bars).
For example, in 2017 SRCS purchased $1,677 dollars worth of crops from our school gardens, which generated over $3,350 of economic activity throughout the community! These numbers do not even include the produce SRCS buys from local farmers!