School Food and Nutrition

Inclusive procurement and value chains

The Home-Grown School Feeding approach connects the need for safe, diverse and nutritious food with the production of local farmers and community businesses. This approach can provide opportunities for inclusive procurement and value chains to improve the economic development of small-scale famers and local communities and to strengthen the connection between nutrition, agriculture and social protection through schools.

The Home-Grown School Feeding approach offers local farmers a regular market (schools) for their production. This can boost local agriculture, create business opportunities for smallholder farmers and other vulnerable producers (including women, youth, and members of traditional communities), and contribute to community socioeconomic development.

It can also increase the value of traditional foods, which are nutritious but often overlooked. These programmes can also be designed to promote nutrition-sensitive, agro-ecological and/or climate-sensitive agriculture practices. 

Linking schools with the production of small-scale farmers requires a set of policies and legislation that allow for these processes to happen. It also needs adaptation on the demand side, so that small-scale farmers and other vulnerable producers are prioritized and can sell their products without barriers; this is known as inclusive procurement. To have success, these programmes may also need to arrange for additional support to farmers, so that they can increase their productivity to match the demand.

FAO supports governments on building these linkages, and on providing technical assistance, information and policy support on inclusive food procurement to schools. It also promotes ways and opportunities to enhance the nutrition quality and safety along the school food chain, focusing on how food is produced, processed, stored and distributed, delivered and prepared. These “nutrition-sensitive value chains” can play an important role in shaping healthier and more sustainable local and national food systems.

FAO, WFP and IFAD are working together on nutrition-sensitive value chains for school meal programmes.