Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement

In January 2023, the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food (NHDAMF) accepted funds through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program. NHDAMF has partnered with NH Farm to School (NHFTS), NH Hunger Solutions (NHHS), and the NH Food Alliance (NHFA) to facilitate the dissemination of over $558,000 to school districts across the state.

The Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program is a USDA non-competitive grant to be used by school districts to purchase local, minimally processed foods for school lunch operations. Funds have been disseminated by NHDAMF to New Hampshire school districts based on the rates of student participation in free and reduced-price lunch programs. Please view the map linked below to see the school districts that qualified for a portion of the funds.

How will the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement funds benefit New Hampshire’s schools and communities?

  • Increase access to and consumption of highly nutritious, fresh, unprocessed foods by students and staff
  • Alleviate budgetary stress for school district’s food service budget and help to eliminate debt
  • Create a more resilient supply chain in times of disruption and builds long term procurement relationships between school districts and local farmers, keeping money in our local economies and building a more robust food system in New Hampshire and New England

Information and Resources for School Districts & School Food Service Directors

If your school district has accepted its allotted Local Food for School Cooperative Agreement funds, please use the following information to start purchasing local food for your school. Reminder! All funds must be spent down by the end of the 2023-24 school year, with priority to spend during the Fall 2023 growing season due to the seasonality of New England’s growing seasons. For an overview of the cooperative agreement program, Watch the “How to Get Started: Local Food for Local Schools Cooperative Agreement” webinar here.

Before you start purchasing local foods, please complete the following:

  • Grantees must register as a vendor with the state of New Hampshire here
  • Grantees must sign and submit the grant agreement letter to NHDAMF and provide the following supplemental documentation:
    • Certificate of Authority (this authorizes an individual to enter into the grant agreement on behalf of the school district)
    • Certificate of Insurance
    • Private and Charter Schools may have to provide additional paperwork. Please contact NHDAMF directly at the information below for further guidance.

Send the above information, electronically, to Josh Marshall, NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, to joshua.k.marshall@agr.nh.gov (preferred) or by mail to the following address: 

Attn: Josh Marshall
NH Dept. of Agriculture, Markets & Food
PO Box 2042
Concord, NH 03302-2042

Find Local Food
Use the resources linked below to find local farms, fisheries, and food hubs near your school district to source from.

  • Browse the New Hampshire Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Map
    • Click on your school pin to see the funds that are allocated to your school.
    • Click on the hub/farm pins to get their contact information. The highlighted areas correspond to the same colored food hubs’ delivery areas. Green Markers indicate hubs/farms/distributors that deliver across the state.
    • Yellow markers indicate the food hubs with retail locations you can shop at. These hubs may have bulk order options available.
  • Browse the UNH Extension’s Farm Product Map and use the find farms and find food tabs on top to filter
  • Browse a comprehensive list of New Hampshire’s local food and farm directories here

For more information, head to the USDA webpage for the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement here and read the recent press release about New Hampshire’s funds here.

If you need assistance or have any other related questions, reach out to one of the contacts below.
Josh Marshall, NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food; joshua.k.marshall@agr.nh.gov
Stacey Purslow, NH Farm to School; stacey.purslow@unh.edu
Jessica Gorhan, NH Hunger Solutions; jgorhan@nhhungersolutions.org
Katelyn Porter, NH Food Alliance; katelyn.porter@unh.edu