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Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Small Potatoes, Big Impact: Michigan Farm to School Potato Processing Partnership Case Study

Small potatoes can have a big impact in farm to school
Potatoes are a highly accepted vegetable among students and have a high-volume potential. Dan Gorman, farm to school innovator and food service director for Montague Area Public Schools, wanted to explore the possibility of processing Michigan produce in-house along with a more nutritious implementation as roasted potatoes, in place of french fries.  

Gorman received a USDA Farm to School Grant in 2021 to purchase some scale appropriate equipment that could wash, chop, and freeze potatoes for distribution within the district. Gorman intended to use this equipment to test the feasibility of centralized school-based processing, but unfortunately, it did not arrive in time. He was able to collaborate with the Kalamazoo Valley Community College ValleyHUB, which has similar equipment. As recipients of a sub-award from the Michigan Department of Education’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, MSU Extension supported the development of this potato processing program at Montague Area Public Schools. This aligns with the award’s goal to fund farm to school supply chain development in support of the 10 Cents a Meal program.  

This resource examines the results of potato processing trials at a Michigan school district. This resource can be used to explore the possibility of in-school processing for Michigan grown produce, as well as the supply chain challenges that may arise between farmers and institutions.  
For more information, contact:

Funding for this work comes from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant.  
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