Nearly half of Colorado school districts participate in farm-to-school programs in which local fruits, vegetables, meat or dairy are used to make school meals. In addition, 15 percent of 163 school districts surveyed reported planning to add farm-to-school efforts in the future.

These results were reported in the first national Farm to School Census released on Oct. 22 by the United States Department of Agriculture. The top five farm-to-school products used by Colorado districts were apples, peaches, beef, milk and tomatoes.

Colorado is ahead of several neighboring states when it comes to the proportion of districts that have farm-to-school programs. Compared to 46 percent in Colorado, the numbers are 35 percent in Kansas, 34 percent in New Mexico, 22 percent in Nebraska and 17 percent in Wyoming. Nationally, the average is 43 percent.

Several Colorado districts, including Adams County BOCES, Moffat County, Rangely and Weld County RE-2, reported using more than half their food budgets to buy local products. For more information on the Farm to School Census, including state-by-state and district-by-district information, click here.