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Opening the Flood Gates: Selling to School Workshop Recap

Niko Fontes of LOAF Aquaponics and Billy Mitchell of National Farmers Union chatting during a workshop break.

“Learn about resources and share them with community members”

“Wanting to advance business scale and get products out to the masses”

“Want to get info to farmers interested in selling to schools”

These are just a few of the reasons approximately 20 farmers, University of Georgia extension agents, and Farm Bureau representatives joined Georgia Organics and the National Farmers Union for a half day “Selling to Schools” workshop in Rockdale County. The workshop took place on March 23 and is the third workshop in a series of “Selling to Schools” workshops taking place throughout the state.

“Farmers and school nutrition directors work incredibly hard to help get fresh produce to students. Giving a space for them to talk and work together is great for the schools, the farms, and most importantly the kids,” said Billy Mitchell of the National Farmers Union.

The “Selling to Schools” workshops are designed to assist farmers in increasing their sales to local school districts and increase overall school district procurement from local farmers. The workshop covered several topics for farmers including

  • a Georgia Organics overview
  • good agricultural practices
  • food safety tips
  • USDA Organic Certification
  • water and soil testing
  • basic record keeping

All attendees were entered into a prize drawing to win a SantiDate, Utilatub, Georgia Organics branded swag!

“The workshop was very productive and informative,” said Robert Compabell, a Georgia Organics Farmer Member from LOAF Aquaponics. “I’m very excited. I think this workshop just may have opened up the floodgates for us!”

Jody Kauffman of Jody’s Farm agreed with Campbell, “I learned a lot and it was nice to polish up on my food safety practices.”

Following the question and answer based presentations, attendees participated in a Q&A lunch with School Nutrition staff from both Rockdale County Schools and Gwinnett County Schools and a purchaser from Carver’s Produce. During the discussion, the buyers discussed what items they are interested in buying, micro purchasing requirements, and procedure for procuring locally. Farmers were able to share what they grow and challenges they experience when selling to districts and distributors.

“I think this [workshop] is important because we have tight purchasing processes,” said Coordinator of Nutrition Support and Procurement at Gwinnett County Public Schools Taylor Blake. “Farmers need to understand the nuance of our requirements to be successful selling to us.”

Rahul Anand of Snapfinger Farm wins a Utilatub!

Both workshop participants and purchasers were given the contact information for everyone in the room. Attendees will be able to use this information to further grow their grower/seller relationships.

Georgia Organics will continue hosting “Selling to Schools” workshops throughout the year. The next workshop will take place May 30 in Carrollton. Click HERE to register and learn more. Workshops are FREE!

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