Local food hub launches Farm to School Recipe Manual

Sprout works with numerous restaurants, food cooperatives, hospitals, long-term care facilities and manages a direct-to-consumer Community Supported Agriculture Program.

Sampling of Minnesota-produced winter squash.

LITTLE FALLS โ€” Alongside Brainerd School District and Crosby School District Food Service Directors, Sprout MN launched a Farm to School Recipe Manual, which has been distributed to all school districts in Cass, Crow Wing, Todd, Morrison and Wadena counties.

Through this U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School grant funded program, Sprout MN led this collaboration with area school districts to develop, test and implement brand new recipes that feature often underutilized produce, including beets, carrots, rutabaga and squash, the news release said. A core team consisting of food service directors, head cooks and food service staff created, developed, critiqued and adjusted the recipes. Students participated in six sensory exploration tasting events. The core team then completed Train the Trainer sessions of more than 24 additional food service staff.

Sprout MN is focused on strengthening the local food system in central Minnesota by connecting growers, eaters, creatives and economic developers to increase healthy food access, encourage entrepreneurship and cultivate creativity. Sproutโ€™s story is deeply rooted in supporting farm to school initiatives and its pioneering spirit has helped school districts and growers around the state create farm to school networks of their own.

People in a kitchen preparing food to cook.
Crosby-Ironton School District Food Service Director Scott Skinner leads staff on recipe development on Sept. 16, 2021.

Sprout specializes in working with small family farms to aggregate locally produced fruits, vegetables and shelf-stable items that are 100% produced in central Minnesota. Sprout works with numerous restaurants, food cooperatives, hospitals, long-term care facilities and manages a direct-to-consumer Community Supported Agriculture Program.

The farm to school network creates immeasurable positive impact on both producers and school districts nationwide. For Sprout and central Minnesota districts, the initiative has been instrumental in education of students and staff about the origins of the produce on their plates. Sprout seeks opportunities to support small family farms in central Minnesota through the longstanding relationships with food service directors and to advance our efforts on innovative ways to continue to introduce locally grown, nutritious foods onto the plates of school-aged children.


The Farm to School Manual, with 30 recipes highlighting Minnesota Grown products, is publicly available and can be accessed at: .

To learn more, visit and follow the Sprout MN on Facebook.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

Hi, I'm the Brainerd Dispatch. I started working a few days before Christmas in 1881 and became a daily paper two years later. I've gone through a lot of changes over the years, but what has never changed is my commitment to community and to local journalism. I've got an entire team of dedicated people who work night and day to make sure I go out every morning, whether in print, as an e-edition, via an app or with additional information at News, weather, sports โ€” videos, photos, podcasts and social media โ€” all covering stories from central Minnesota about your neighbors, your lakes, your communities, your challenges and your opportunities. It's all part of the effort to keep people connected and informed. And we couldn't do it without support.
What To Read Next
Get Local