North Carolina service member Caroline Stover discusses how schools can connect to farmers to source locally

by Caroline Stover

I started my FoodCorps service year in a rural area of northeastern North Carolina, and at that time, Warren County’s schools were using a local distributor for produce but were not buying any food from local farms. I was new to the area, but I was sure farmers were growing vegetables we could use in schools, and I was sure there was just one person who could be the link between farms and schools – the child nutrition director (CND). I was both excited and shocked when I met our CND, Robert Parker, and he said, “I would love to buy local—that would be a win-win for everyone!” But when he asked me what product was grown in our county on a scale large enough he could buy it for schools, I had no answer. As he explained more about his job and the impediments to purchasing locally, I realized the system was actually much more complicated than I had imagined.

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