Local Food in Maryland Schools: A Real Possibility or a Wishful Dream?
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In the recent past, “farm to school” and “farm to cafeteria” programs have proliferated. In 2008, Maryland passed the Jane Lawton Act, an unfunded program encouraging schools to serve Maryland produced food in schools. Similar federal policy exists. Like many other states, Maryland is seeking new markets, such as educational institutions, to enhance the viability of small and medium farms. However, school lunches are subject to numerous constraints, including regulatory and budget constraints. Distribution channels for local food sales are not well developed. Thus the success of local food usage in Maryland schools program is not certain. Using primary quantitative and qualitative data collected by the research team, this paper explores the feasibility of local food in Maryland schools. We identify scale and socioeconomic barriers to the use of local food in schools, suggesting that policy support would enhance the likelihood of long term success of serving local food in schools.