Orange County Schools Seek Fresh Produce

Jim Rogers Fresh

Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) in Florida are seeking growers to join the Farm to School Partner Program. The program provides students access to nutritious, high-quality, local fruits and vegetables throughout the school year. Set to begin August 2023, the program runs through July 2025.

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OCPS is looking for a variety of produce items. Desired citrus items are grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges, satsumas and tangerines. Learn more about the program, including a full list of desired produce items, here. The OCPS team is available for discussion about needed volumes.

OCPS seeks produce from Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)-certified farmers and growers. GAP audits are voluntary audits that verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled and stored to minimize risks of microbial food-safety hazards. Learn more about the U.S. Department of Agriculture GAP program here.

This is not a donation program. Growers will enter into contracts with OCPS and be paid for their contracted volumes.

Produce can be delivered to the OCPS Central Kitchen Hub in bulk form. The OCPS Central Kitchen Hub in Ocoee will handle the post-harvesting processing. The hub produces 6,450 lunches daily for 17 schools in West Orange County. OCPS Food and Nutrition Services wants to design a menu for this specific area based on the availability of local produce throughout the year.

OCPS will work with growers to determine produce availability and anticipated volumes. It will hold a question-and-answer session in April about becoming a vendor with OCPS, the procurement process and payment system. Complete an interest form here to get an invitation to the question-and-answer session. The form will remain live until March 11.

Sources: Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association and OCPS

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