Farm to School Nebraska Thursdays

Nutrition Services is committed to provide healthy school meals and snacks to the students of Omaha Public Schools every day. Farm to School is a program that connects schools (K-12) and farmers who produce local foods. The objectives are to serve healthy meals, improve student nutrition, provide agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities; and support the local and regional economy.

Since September 1, 2016, the first Thursday of each month our menus will feature items which are grown, produced, or packaged in Nebraska.  Known as "Nebraska Thursdays", the day will feature locally sourced products.  It is our way of supporting the local economy and to highlight Nebraska companies.

Establishing relationships is key to a successful Farm to School Program. Partnering with local producers and distributors, we continuously expand our local offerings during lunch. Additionally, Nutrition Services is a stakeholder with School Food FOCUS, a national collaborative that leverages the knowledge and procurement power of large school districts to make school meals nationwide more healthful, regionally sourced, and sustainably produced.

Listed below are several of the producers who provide us with fresh and local products for the 2020-21 school year:      

A&T Farms, Valley, NE
Clinch Farms, Madison, NE
Daniel’s Produce, Columbus, NE
DeGroot and Western Missouri
Farm Fresh, O'Neil, NE
Heldt Farms, Yutan, NE
Hiland Dairy, Omaha, NE
International Spices, Fremont, NE
Rotella, Omaha, NE
Smart Chicken, Tecumseh, NE

The Midwest Menu is organized by five large districts participating in the Focus Midwest Learning Lab: Chicago Public Schools, Des Moines Public Schools, Minneapolis Public Schools, and the Detroit Public Schools Community District.  The food service directors, staff, and community partners of the Focus Midwest Learning Lab have been working together since 2012 to collectively leverage their purchasing power to improve the quality of food served to public school students.  The Learning Lab is a project of School Food Focus, a national non-profit organization which supports schools districts to move toward school meals which feature more healthful, regional and sustainable menu items.  These five districts alone will serve over 475,000 students through the Midwest Menu event in Ocober.