Purchasing local goods and services supports surrounding communities and economies, helps the environment, and makes for a safer food supply. The definition of “local” is defined by each School Food Authority (SFA). There is no federal definition. The SFA’s definition of local may change seasonally, or with the type of product, or special event. Local can be defined by a certain number of miles from the SFA, within the county, the state, or adjacent state(s), etc. Below are resources for procuring locally.
For more information on starting a Farm to School (F2S) program, visit the SNT F2S Webpage.
Sourcing Local Goods and Services
Schools can connect with local producers, ranchers, and farmers through a few different channels. Consider using the Wisconsin Local Foods Database as a place to begin searching for producers, ranchers, and farmers in your area. Connections can be made by calling, emailing, meeting in person, or if necessary, sending out a written solicitation.
- Prime vendor (AKA commercial distributor)
- Direct to farmer
- School garden
- Farmer’s market or auction
- Food hub, coop, or aggregator
- Community garden
- USDA Foods, like DoD
- Direct to Processor
Common Procurement Methods
Most SFAs utilize informal procurement to obtain local goods and services. Before deciding which method to use, estimate the value of your purchase and have your specifications defined. In short, the value of a micro-purchase is estimated by transaction and is the most flexible method. Whereas, a small-purchase and formal procurement are estimated based on volume used over the course of a typical school year.
Small-purchase (3 Bids and a Buy)
Invitation for Bid (IFB)
Request for Proposal (RFP)
Identify Needs and Define Local
To make a purchase, first identify your needs. Procurement terminology refers to this process as “creating specifications”. For example, what exact product do you need to purchase? Ask a few questions like: How much do you need? When do you need it? Do you need organic? What size or type do you need?
Wisconsin Local Food for Schools (WI LFS) Program
Wisconsin received $3,447,772 from the USDA to purchase local unprocessed and minimally processed food to help with the challenges of supply chain disruptions. Through the WI LFS Program, Wisconsin will issue non-competitive sub-awards to School Food Authorities (SFAs) and Non-SFAs. Funds may be used for purchasing domestic, local, unprocessed, or minimally processed foods for distribution to eligible SFAs participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP/SBSEVERE). The WI LFS Program will build a more resilient local food chain by expanding and strengthening local and regional markets. Purchases will target small business and/or socially disadvantaged farmers/producers.
See the Application Materials section below to review program requirements and apply for funding. Return here for future program communications and updates.
Please review all materials below before applying. Both SFAs and Non-SFAs are eligible for sub-awards. SFAs are not required (but encouraged) to participate in the LFS Program. Applications are due Tuesday October 18, 2022. Wisconsin DPI SNT reserves the right to accept applications beyond this date based on funds available.
SFAs: DPI SNT provided personalized application link to ARs and FSDs in September 20, 2022 email.
Non-SFAs: Click here to apply
Webinar and Office Hours
- 09/29/2022 WI LFS webinar recording, click "watch on the web instead"
- Weekly WI LFS Office Hours, Tuesdays from 2-2:30 PM , use this link to join
Questions regarding this funding opportunity can be directed to email@example.com.
Resources and Policy Memos
- USDA Resources for Procuring Local Foods
- Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
- Purchases of Locally Produced Foods in the School Nutrition Programs Memo #02-26, USDA Policy Memo, 05/22/2002
- Procuring Local Meat, Poultry, Game, and Eggs for Child Nutrition, SP 01-2016, CACFP 01-2016, SFSP 01-2016, USDA, 10/22/2015
- Procurement Geographic Preference Q&As – Part II SP 03-2013, CACFP 02-2013, SFSP 02-2013, USDA,10/09/2012
- Procurement Geographic Preference Q&As SP 18-2011, USDA, 02/01/2011
- Geographic Preference for the Procurement of Unprocessed Agricultural Products in the CNP SP 08-2010, USDA,11/13/2009
- Applying Geographic Preference in Procurement for the CNP - Updates SP 01-2010 CACFP 01-2010 SFSP 01-2010, USDA,10/09/2009