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May 2013 Special School Gardens Update

News on Local Food in APS

The last Ag Collaborative meeting, "Farm to School Part 1:  Selling to APS," helped local growers understand the process to begin selling to Albuquerque Public Schools. Steven Carleton and his colleagues answered a lot of great questions, and shared handouts to guide entrepreneurs. You can find Steven's presentation and theAPS Procurment handouts on our website. Under "Lot 2:  Valley Produce Program", New Mexico farmers can bid to sell their produce to the school system. Currently, 12 APS schools are participating. The program is available from August 1st through July 31st.
 
Initial bidding for this season opens early to mid July, and bidding will be monthly thereafter, around the 14th of each month. Produce is typically received on Thursdays and then ships to schools on Friday for use. If growers do not change their prices in the monthly bid, then the pricing rolls over in the next bid.

The biggest obstacle to APS purchasing local food is price. A number of local growers have succeeded. Sometimes for them to win the bid, they had to refine their business practices or access new equipment to properly process the food. One grower relies on the SVEDC's Mixing Bowl to process his produce. Additionally, partnering with Farm to School NM can provide insight and guidance. Farm to School has worked with a number of growers in Northern New Mexico and other parts of the state to bring locally grown food to NM schools. Also consider attending the May Ag Collaborative meeting on funding opportunities to ensure you have access to the capital you may need to break into this market. Have questions on the bidding process? Check out Steven's presentation or the APS Procurment handouts for APS Procurement staff contact information.

While APS school gardens currently do not serve the schools where they grow, there is interest in how school gardens might feed students.
 
Join in the conversation about school gardens! Check out the Growing Gardens Team or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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