Sprout specializes in working with small family farms to aggregate locally produced fruits, vegetables and shelf-stable items that are 100% produced in Central Minnesota. Sprout works with numerous restaurants, food cooperatives, hospitals, long-term care facilities and manages a direct-to-consumer Community Supported Agriculture Program.
Through this USDA Farm to School grant program, Sprout worked area school districts to develop, test and implement brand new recipes that feature often underutilized produce, including beets, carrots, rutabaga and squash. A Core Team consisting of food service directors, head cooks and food service staff created, developed, critiqued and adjusted the recipes. Students participated in six sensory exploration tasting events. The Core Team then completed Train the Trainer sessions of over 24 additional food service staff.
The farm to school network creates immeasurable positive impact on both producers and school districts nationwide. For Sprout and Central Minnesota districts, the initiative has been instrumental in education of students and staff about the origins of the produce on their plates. Sprout seeks opportunities to support small family farms in central Minnesota through the longstanding relationships with food service directors and to advance our efforts on innovative ways to continue to introduce locally grown, nutritious foods onto the plates of school-aged children.