WV School Garden Toolkit

written for and by west virginia school gardeners

Purchasing Locally from Farms

By David Seay, Child Nutrition Director, Fayette County Schools

It is not easy to find farmers who are willing to forego the quick cash in hand sales at the Farmers Market and sell to the Board of Education on a purchase order that will be paid in 30 days if all of the paperwork is correct.  So, when we did find a few individuals that were willing to sell to us, we wanted to make sure that the administrative burden was not more than they could bear.

We gave them a sample invoice that included all of the information that our accounting department requires.

We went through the process of filling out a W-9 and having them put into our purchasing system as an authorized vendor for the county school system.  We try to make sure that they get paid as soon as possible and expedite their invoices when we get them in.

I have even typed the invoices for two of them.

We provided them a list of produce items that our schools use on a daily or regular basis.

We provided them a list of school cafeteria managers and encouraged them to make contact with the schools to provide from farm to kitchen door service.  I really like this model for doing business, it puts the farmer and the cook together and makes the connection really local.

Helpful examples of how to reach out to farmers:

Letter to the Fayette County Farmers Market Growers

Farm to School Meeting Flyer – for a meeting between David Seay and local farmers, includes list of produce that Fayette County Board of Education regularly buys

David Seay, a retired Marine Corps Food Service Officer, loves his job feeding Fayette County Students healthy and Nutritious meals.  The Farm to School projects are his favorite part of the child nutrition program.  Farm to school is a win for the community, a win for the students and a win for the school system.  David has a BS Degree from the University of Maryland, a Masters Degree from Troy State University, a Teaching Certification from Marshall University Graduate College and Bible Training at Appalachian Bible College.

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One thought on “Purchasing Locally from Farms

  1. This is an awesome idea. I hadn’t thought of holding a meeting with all interested farmers so that we could answer all their questions and get them all in one place. I also like the idea of the cook and farmer meeting directly together and had not thought of that before. I would like to see a little more of the logistics of how it works on this – what is a specific (example) step-by-step process that needs to be gone through to get the food into schools? I am finding I have to talk to the cook as much as the nutrition director to work it out, which I had not expected.

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