OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Select Oklahoma school districts now have the opportunity to increase the purchase of local foods for school meal programs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Local Food for Schools (LFS) program is designed to help school districts partner with local farmers and ranchers to give students more access to nutritious foods unique to the area they live.

“The Local Food for Schools Program will provide tremendous opportunities for Oklahoma schools to increase nutritious local food options for students,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur. “The program not only increases markets for farmers and ranchers across the state, it also provides an opportunity for students to learn more about where their food comes from. There is no question that nutritious food options and local food options in our school lunchrooms will benefit both health and educational outcomes.”

Schools must participate in the National School Lunch Program to be eligible to apply for LFS.

Each district will be eligible for up to $5,000 until May 1, 2023. After that date, each district is eligible to apply for another $5,000 as many times as they like if previous funds have been spent and documented properly.

The LFS is a cooperative agreement between the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

The LFS is authorized by the American Rescue Plan to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency.