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Abstract

“Farm to school” and “farm to cafeteria” programs have proliferated around the United States. In 2008, Maryland passed the Jane Lawton Act, an unfunded program encouraging schools to serve Maryland produced food in schools. Like many other states, Maryland is seeking new markets, such as educational institutions, to enhance the viability of small and medium farms. However, school lunches are subject to numerous constraints, including regulations and budget concerns. Distribution channels for local food sales are not well developed. Thus the success of local food usage in Maryland schools program is not certain. Using primary quantitative and qualitative data collected by the research team, this paper identifies scale and socioeconomic barriers to the use of local food in schools. We posit that policy support and increased involvement by extension would enhance the likelihood of long term success of serving local food in schools.

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