The Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition Program is excited to announce the official launch of Maine’s Harvest of the Month (HOM) Program. The program was piloted in schools in Spring 2019, with participation from over 165 schools state-wide. The full roll out of the program begins this fall for School Year 2020.
Harvest of the Month (HOM) is a nationwide marketing campaign, promoting the use of seasonally available, local products in schools, institutions, and communities. Each month a different local product is highlighted, and participating entities pledge to serve the product and promote it through educational materials and activities. The program launched in California, and has been replicated by dozens of other states across the country. With Maine’s participation, all New England states now have Harvest of the Month programs.
MAINE HARVEST OF THE MONTH
Participating School Food Service Directors are asked to take a pledge to serve the monthly HOM product at least two times per month in their cafeterias. In addition to this, they pledge to display HOM promotional materials, such as posters, fun facts, and stickers for students who have tried the HOM product. Featured recipes are also provided each month. In taking the pledge, schools agree to participate in evaluations so that local food procurement can be tracked and to analyze the success of the program. Local products may be sourced directly from farms, farmer cooperatives, and distributors. When buying produce directly from a farm or farmer cooperative, School Food Service Directors may take advantage of the Local Produce Fund, which reimburses $1 for every $3 spent on local produce (up to $1,000 per district for SY 2020).
To sign up for the Harvest of the Month Program, please sign the pledge at https://forms.gle/M3av147TXBHBjGPh9. Interested school districts have until October 1, 2019 to sign up.