Online tools help schools and farmers connect

Program helps schools meet new federal requirements.

Sept. 4—Starting this school year the school district in Turlock, Calif., which is surrounded by fields and orchards in one of the nation's richest agricultural regions, have utilized the help of a new online company that connects local farmers with school districts.

The change is a welcome one because the district used to get much of the produce it served to students from national distributors who shipped fruits and vegetables from outside California. With the new partnership the district has been able to serve apples, peaches, nectarines, plums and oranges from farms only a few miles away.

California-based Ag Link allows school districts to communicate with nearby farmers and buy their produce with the click of a mouse. It's helping the Turlock district and others meet new federal rules requiring more fruits and vegetables in school cafeterias to help prevent childhood obesity.