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Local farm helps supply schools with food

Supply chain issues are making it hard for schools to get food
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 10:03 PM CST
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ATHENS, Wis. (WSAW) - School districts are reporting problems getting some of the foods they need to make meals for students.

Cattail Organics farm has worked with schools through partnerships for years, but supply chain issues during the pandemic are showing schools the perks of buying locally grown foods.

Kat Becker is the owner of Cattail Organics vegetable farm in Athens. Her farm supplies schools by selling lettuce and other vegetables.

“We did have some school district who were outside of our reach, reach out to us when they reached really big crisis points in supply,” said Becker.

Becker said she tends to work with school districts up front during the springtime to plan for the year.

“There were some changes we saw during the pandemic. We saw some school districts that were using fresh products and sending those right to families on school buses,” said Becker.

She said the federal government places strong bid requirements on certain supply systems for food service directors.

“And as those have loosened, food service directors have been liberated to work with smaller farmers or to put more money into local food systems,” said Becker.

The pandemic also increased the need for school meals. The meals schools provide are often the only reliable meal some students get each day.

“The pandemic response for both farms like us, but the schools generally have dealt with those issues in really unique, and very creative, and fast changing ways,” said Becker.

Becker said each school is different when it comes to their orders. The orders depend on the district and the items food service directors chooses.

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