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.

This is a poster promoting more consumption of local seafood.

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 seven school districts in four New England states.

This is a poster about bringing seafood to schools.
Students Served

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

Two middle school students pose with dishes of seafood in front of a large poster of an acadian redfish.
Pounds of Seafood Served

Schools served a lot of local seafood, benefiting local communities and economies.

Two chefs prepare local seafood for school lunch.
A chef places a tray of seafood onto a long table.
Seafood Economy Support

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

This is a photo of a school lunch on a plate with seafood.
More Seafood in Schools

Most of the schools increased the amount of local seafood they served.

A poster with orange stickers on it stands next to a large poster of an acadian redfish.
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.

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.

This is a report cover for a Sea to School Success Report.

Sea to School Success Report

Check out the results of this report which evaluated the results of our USDA grant supported work on increasing local seafood consumption in New England K-12 schools.

Project Team

Project Sponsor

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

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