Information for Pennsylvania Producers
Pennsylvania Harvest of the Month (PA HOM) is a program developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Project PA (Penn State University) to promote a Pennsylvania-produced agricultural product each month through schools, child and adult care centers/day care homes, and summer feeding sites. The program aims to provide participants with local, healthy products while supporting Pennsylvania farmers and producers. Posters, other signage, fact sheets, family newsletters, and recipes are available on the PA HOM website to any school, early care and education or summer meals program, or any other interested entity or individual.
|Broccoli, Eggs, Potatoes
Schools and other sites participating in this program may be interested in serving PA HOM items through meals programs or as taste-tests and may reach out to local producers to procure these items. If you produce any of the PA HOM items or are willing to start producing them, consider reaching out to the school food service directors in your local school districts to discuss potential partnerships. School food service directors hold school district-level positions and are responsible for planning menus, making decisions about products to offer, and procuring food for all schools in their district.
Food is served to students through the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program, Afterschool Snack Program, and, during the summer months, the Summer Food Service Program. Some schools also participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, a program through which fruits and vegetables are offered as snacks to elementary students. Many early care and education centers participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Each of these programs provides opportunities for implementation of PA HOM. For more information about the Federal Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs), see this factsheet developed by the PA Farm to School Network.
When discussing plans for selling local products to schools or other sites that operate CNPs, some points will likely include payment processes, delivery schedules and instructions, product availability, product form (washed/unwashed, trimmed/untrimmed, etc.), packaging, price, traceability, and needed quantities. While producers that sell products to schools are not required by state or federal regulations to be GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certified, school districts may have local requirements or be interested in learning about local producers’ food safety procedures and liability insurance coverage. Schools might also be interested in learning about your interest and availability to participate in educational events or offer farm field trips.
CNP operators receive state and federal funds for meals that they serve that meet specific requirements. These funds are used to purchase food as well as labor and supplies. CNP operators are required to follow federal procurement regulations and have three options for making purchases, all of which offer possibilities for purchasing local products:
- For purchases of $10,000 or less, micro-purchase procedures may be used. CNP operators are not required to solicit competitive quotes, but must distribute micro-purchases equitably among qualified suppliers. PA HOM purchases will most likely be considered micro-purchases.
- For purchases valued at more than $10,000 and less than $250,000, informal procurement procedures are followed. This involves getting price quotes from 2 or more bidders.
- Purchases greater than $250,000 require formal procurement procedures involving public advertising and sealed bids and proposals.
For more information about selling to schools, see the USDA fact sheet, “Selling Local Food to Schools – A Resource for Producers.”