Step 2: Start a Conversation

Farm to School is a great opportunity for your farm because it is a reliable customer base, large demand, and increased visibility for your business. Use these resources to help you start a conversation with schools, food service staff, and distributors.

Create a plan before approaching institutions:

  • What is your delivery plan?
  • Boxes? Bags?
  • How often?
  • How far?
  • Is the delivery price built into the sale?
  • What are the minimum and maximum orders per site?
  • How will you communicate? Ex: phone, email, text, or fax


Factors to consider about who you approach:

  • What is the size of the delivery?
  • How many students/orders?
  • What are the serving sizes for each item?
  • Does the site have scratch kitchens
  • Are they able to wash and chop produce?
  • What are the logistics for delivery?
  • Is there a preference for time of day?
  • Day of week?
  • Do all sites need deliveries?
  1. What do you grow and when is it available?
  2. What is the cost?
  3. Do you have a price and/or availability sheet?
  4. How far in advance can you tell me what product you will have and when it will be available?
  5. Can you sort by size and can you supply me with the cup serving size I need?
  6. Do you have the ability to pack at your facility?
  7. If you do pack, what type of pack style will it be: box size, weight, volume fill vs. tray pack etc?
  8. Can you deliver directly to the school sites?
  9. Do you already sell directly to schools or other institutions?
  10. Can you deliver to our food distributor?
  11. Do you currently work with any distributors?
  12. Is your produce organically grown?
  13. Do you use pesticides and if so, what are they?
  14. How much lead time do you need for my orders?
  15. How much ripening time does the produce need that I ordered?
  16. Has the produce I ordered been washed before packing?
  17. What is the best temperature for storage of my produce order?
  18. What is the shelf life of my produce order?
  19. Do you have a way to communicate via email?
  20. What is your preferred method of communication, phone, fax, email, other?
  21. Do you have someone that will answer calls during business hours or a voice mail that you check regularly?
  22. Do you have refrigerated trucks for my delivery?
  23. How do you communicate if there is a delivery problem, or product quality is not what it should be etc?
  24. Am I required to buy your produce if you cannot deliver at the specified day and time?
  25. If there is a problem with the quality of the produce, will you give me a credit for the amount I couldn’t use?
  26. Does the USDA inspect your produce?
  27. Do you conduct any farm tours for students and/or food service directors?
  28. Would you be willing to consider planting product specifically to sell to our district?
  1. Developed by the California Farm to School Taskforce
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