School Districts in Yolo County say federal grants have helped increase the amount of fresh, locally-grown produce used in school lunches in the past year.
The Davis Joint Unified School District says the first year of grants from the Department of Agriculture have yielded success.
"About 50-percent of our produce comes from all our local farms. Our Farm-to-School allows us to go out 250-to-300 miles," says Dominic Machi with the district. "But, we try to grab as much of those items as we possibly can from our local farms then we process them here."
Anne Alonzo with the Department of Agriculture says the Yolo County school programs are doing exactly what the department had hoped.
'We're just thrilled about this whole focus on local regional and the fact it's providing healthy nutritious options"
Yolo County Agricultural Commissioner John Young says half of the fruits and vegetables in school lunches in Winters today are also locally grown. Now the districts are training staff what to do with the food when they get it.
"Butternut squash is a great example," Young says. "You get that in and you kind of look at as an employee and say,'Ok, what am i going to do with that butternut squash?' Well, it's the knife skills, it's how to handle it, how to menu it, what's the recipe? " ]
Young says the school districts plan to share recipes created by culinary staff with parents to increase healthy eating options at home.
The districts gave an update today on their progress to representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA administrators have also visited schools in Monterey, Modesto, and Salinas this week.