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What is the Fresh Food in Schools Project?

Fresh Food in Schools Project Description

High School Student teaching elementary students about carrotsThe Fresh Food in Schools Project Helps Schools Purchase Washington-Grown Fruits and Vegetables

 The Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network launched its three-year Fresh Food in Schools project last year which provides staffing and resources to increase purchasing of Washington’s fruits and vegetables specialty crops in 20 districts across the state. 

“We are delighted to be able to work across Washington State to support our farmers feeding our kids! Our Fresh Food in Schools program will help farmers enter the school market and help our kids get better access to Washington grown fruits and vegetables.” says Ellen Gray, Executive Director of The Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network. 

Partners supporting the Fresh Food in Schools project include:  the Washington State PTA, the Lutheran Public Policy Office of Washington, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, PCC Natural Markets, the Child Obesity Prevention Coalition and WSDA’s Farm to School program.

“It has been determined that on average, school children receive 1/3 of their calories at school. Washington State PTA is very supportive of improving the quality of our school food and helping improve the nutrition for our schoolchildren” stated Bill Williams, Executive Director of the Washington State PTA.

Roasted Vegetables for Wenatchee Lunch

“Fresh Food in Schools is a win-win for our farmers, our kids, our schools and our local communities”, says Paul Benz, Director of the Faith Action Network.

 Three project coordinators provide support to the districts: Brian Estes supports the eastern districts, Joan Qazi supports the central region districts and Acacia Larson is our western region coordinator. Twenty school districts are participating in the three year project including:

Wenatchee's roasted local vegetables on  Taste WA Day.

Eastern Districts:         Coordinator: Brian Estes 509-521-0606

East Valley – Spokane County;

Northport - Stevens County;

Othello - Adams County;

Spokane – Spokane County

Central Districts:       Coordinator: Joan Qazi 509-881-9182

Ellensburg - Kittitas County;

Goldendale – Klickitat County;

Oroville & Tonasket – Okanogan County;

Sunnyside - Yakima County;

Wahluke – Grant County;

Wenatchee – Chelan County

Western Districts:  Coordinator: Acacia Larson 206-459-9378

Arlington - Snohomish County;

Evergreen - Clark County;

Lake Stevens - Snohomish County;

Mount Vernon - Skagit County;

Naselle-Grays River Valley - Pacific County;

Northshore - King/Snohomish Counties;

Ocean Beach - Pacific County;

Pe Ell - Lewis County; Riverview – King County;

South Whidbey - Island County


“Building relationships between farmers, parents and schools, and encouraging schools to purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers will lead to greater stability in our rural communities and strengthen our state’s economic base,” states Trudy Bialic, Director of Public Affairs at PCC Natural Markets. 

“The Fresh Food in Schools project will provide important support to our School Districts in their efforts to improve the nutritional value of their meals,” says Victor Colman with the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, a partner on this project.

Lake Stevens Food Service Director in Carrot Costume 

Funding for this project has been provided by the WSDA, through the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, the Washington Women's Foundation, the Whatcom Community Foundation and private donations. If you would like more information about Fresh Food in Schools project contact Ellen Gray at or 360-336-9694.



Lake Stevens Food Service Director  modeling our new carrot costume.



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