Local Seafood in New England's K-12 Schools

Connecting New England's K-12 schools with local seafood.

Our sustainable seafood team received a 2020 USDA Farm to School grant to work with K-12 schools across New England to increase the amount of local seafood served in public school cafeterias. The project aimed to improve access to local seafood by implementing a comprehensive sea to school program that would increase local seafood sourcing and offer seafood education in schools.

Project Goals:

  • Increase the amount of local seafood served in K-12 schools in New England by partnering with school foodservice staff.
  • Develop and strengthen education around local seafood in K-12 schools in New England.
  • Build demand and expand markets for local seafood — helping to support local coastal communities.
  • Serve up a nutritious protein to students across New England to grow a new generation of (local) seafood eaters and enthusiasts.

In 2021–22, seven school districts across New England (in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont), representing nearly 40,000 students, pledged to serve local seafood in their cafeterias. Local seafood procurement can be challenging for K-12 schools and this project helped connect schools to local seafood sources.

Over the course of the project, the schools served more than 11,000 pounds of local seafood, resulting in more than $55,000 in value to the local seafood economy. The amount of local seafood served increased by 80%. Of the students who tried local fish, 76% said they loved it.

Partner School Districts

We partnered with schools representing seven different school districts throughout New England.

Seafood sits in cups on a desk. Hands reach for the delicious nuggets.
Students Served

Over 40,000 students enjoyed the health benefits of local seafood as a result of this project.

Charts flag either side of a table, checked by students.
Pounds of Seafood Served

Local K-12 school cafeterias served over 10,000 lbs of Gulf of Maine seafood.

A student checks off a poster.
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Seafood Economy Support

Our project generated $55,000 in sales back to the local seafood economy.

A chef places a tray of seafood onto a long table.
More Seafood in Schools

Over the course of the project, local seafood served in schools saw a staggering increase.

A student checks off a poster.
A Major Hit with Kids

More than three quarters of all students who tried local seafood in their schools loved it!

Sea to School Resource Hub

Our toolkit contains 50 seafood recipes designed for K-12 schools, plus education and engagement resources for foodservice staff, teachers, and others to develop sea to school programming and education.

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Want to serve more local seafood in your schools?

If you're interested in learning how to develop a K-12 Sea to School plan, we've created a guide that can help you achieve your goals.

Project Team

Project Sponsor

This project is generously supported by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

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