Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Small grant helps small schools serve local meat

A small, rural school district in Colorado may have one answer for rural districts across the country that want to make their lunches more local. The South Routt School District has fewer than 450 students in its three schools, but it serves local, grass-fed beef during lunch, Ann Schimke of Ed News Colorado reports. It's all the result of parent Jane Colby's effort. She won a $1,500 grant to pay for more expensive beef, and the district serves beef from cattle raised about 25 miles away.

Colorado is a big cattle state, and the number of school districts that use local beef in their cafeterias seems to be growing, Colorado Farm-to-School Task Force chair Jeremy West told Schimke. He estimated that about a dozen districts use local, grass-fed beef. Switching to local beef isn't easy for school districts. Tight budgets make it harder to buy, and limited kitchen facilities and small staffs can make it harder to properly handle raw beef instead of frozen. South Routt's food-service director, Susan Hart, told Schimke she still uses U.S. Department of Agriculture commodity beef in addition to the local beef because the grant only went so far. (Read more)

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