This free resource from the University of Minnesota helps rural business owners develop a business plan.
Agricultural producers face uncertain markets and narrow margins. These programs, software, and tools teach producers and professionals about: risk management, grain marketing plans, transferring the business to the next generation, and agricultural policy questions.
Provides a general overview on Farm to School
Farm to School Toolkit: Designed for school food service staff but includes examples of a Farmer Statement of Understanding Form, Partner Memorandum of Understanding Form, and Grower questionnaire.
Fact Sheets with tips for farmers, schools and produce suppliers to serve local produce as part of the USDA Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program.
Information for producers about school food budgets and resources to assist in selling and marketing fruits and vegetables to local schools.
A Step-By-Step Guide: This online guide provides general information on Farm to School for farmers and includes very detailed tools for farm assessment, food safety, budgeting, marketing, and understanding the school bid and procurement environment in Michigan.
Tips, Tools and Resources for Food Distribution and Food Safety: Includes Distribution and Cost Templates, sample Memorandum of Understanding between farmers and school buyers, Calculator for translating pounds and bushels into school lunch servings, Food Safety Checklist.
A fact sheet from Community Alliance with Family Farmers giving general advice on how farmers can get started selling to schools.
School food service can be a steady, reliable market for farmers, but they also have buying policies that are unique and specific to their industry. As is the case in any business venture, a good initial step is to learn more about the customer - in this case, the school food service market.
Whether you are just starting off or looking to expand your production for schools, this toolkit will provide you with resources to aid in your success. It provides information on knowing your customer, preparing your business, connecting with schools and school relationships and marketing.