Utah ranks No. 4 in new local food survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Nine Utah school districts reported to serving local produce in their school lunches.

Oct. 28—Utah schools are among the top in the nation when it comes to serving local fruits, veggies, dairy and baked goods, according to a new survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Nine Utah school districts told the USDA they serve local food in their school lunches. In those districts, local food chews up 23 percent of the school food budget, or $3.5 million, according to the survey.

That percentage ranked the state at No. 4, behind Nevada at 44 percent, Oregon at 25 percent and Washington at 24 percent. Maryland was No. 5 at 21 percent. Nationally, schools spend $350 million on locally produced food.

The budget data is based on the 2011-2012 school year, and doesn’t include three more districts — Canyons, Emery and Washington — that told the USDA they began buying local food last school year.