Oregon district purchases $314,000 worth of local food

Fruits and vegetables alone has increased in schools 269 percent, according to recent report.

Feb. 20—The amount of flour that farmer Tom Hunton sells to schools isn’t huge, about 5 percent of the total grain that he mills at Camas Country Mill in north Eugene, but it’s part of a surge in local food coming into Lane County (Ore.) school cafe­terias.

That means more healthful meals for students, and a growing awareness of where their food comes from, those working to promote the effort say. Food grown in Lane County was purchased by area schools in 2012 to the tune of $314,000. Not only does that benefit children’s nutrition, it opens up new markets for local farms, said Megan Kemple, director of the Farm to School program run by the Willamette Farm & Food Coalition.

Produce alone — fruits and vegetables — has increased in schools 269 percent in the past five years, while processed food increased 64 percent, according to a recent report by the coalition