Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community.
1. NFSN & Slow Food USA Tweet Chat
School Gardens & #CNR2015 : Getting Involved Now
From containers in the classroom to multi-acre farms, school gardens are sprouting up in every type of community around the country. These green spaces are providing opportunities for kids to connect with food from the soil up, and in turn, have proven to be an effective tool for helping kids learn to try and like new foods. Simply put, hands-on agriculture and nutrition education are helping shape a healthier next generation. This month, Congress has the opportunity to show its support for school gardens and other farm to school programs as it debates Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Join the National Farm to School Network (@farmtoschool) and Slow Food USA (@slowfoodUSA) for a tweet chat on Wednesday, September 16 from 2-3pm EDT to discuss school gardens, CNR, and how the USDA Farm to School Grant Program can support healthier kids. Use the hashtag #gardens4CNR to join.
2. Webinar: USDA, Regional Rural Development Centers
Why Local Foods Matter
Thursday, September 10, 2015 11 am EDT
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s four Regional Rural Development Centers will host a webinar featuring Deb Tropp from the USDA Ag Marketing Service that will explore what is driving the public’s interest and USDA’s investments in local food initiatives. There is no need to pre-register, but on September 10th, 9 am MDT, you can go directly to this link to join.
3. Webinar: USDA's Team Nutrition
Nutrition Education in the Classroom and Beyond: Tips for Educators
Wednesday, September 16, 3:00-4:00 pm EDT
Go back to school with tools and resources that support healthy learning! This webinar will discuss innovative ways elementary and middle school educators can integrate nutrition education into core subjects like math, language arts, and science. New teaching resources available from Team Nutrition for the 2015-2016 School Year will be shared. Register here.
4. Webinar: The Lunch Box, Chef Ann Foundation
Kids Eat Real Food ‒ Marketing and Lunchroom Education
Thursday, September 24, 2:00-3:00 pm EDT
Join Curry Rosato, Farm to School and Events Coordinator and Chef Ann Cooper, Director of Boulder Valley School District, Boulder, CO to learn the techniques that have brought Boulder’s kids back to the lunch program and raised participation every year since 2009. Learn marketing best practices and turn your students into “real food” aficionados. Register here.
5. Mid-Atlantic Regional Farm to School Conference, Nov 4-5, Rockville, MD
Field to Tray: Strengthening Farm to School Purchasing in the Mid-Atlantic will bring together farmers, food service directors, suppliers and other stakeholders from the region for a day of digging in to local food procurement strategies. The Mid-Atlantic region has experienced significant growth in farm to school practices over the past several years, and this conference will be a sharing, learning and networking opportunity for key farm to school players in the region. Register by September 5 to receive the early bird discount. Learn more about the conference and register here.
6. Growing Minds Farm to School Conference, Nov 14, Asheville, NC
With more than 10 years of experience in farm to school training and programming, ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program offers a combination of creative ideas and practical applications for school environments. This year’s conference will feature workshops focused on four specialized tracks: Early Childhood, Health and Community, Cafeteria, and Classroom. Each track features content for folks new to farm to school as well as those that want to improve their existing programs. For more information please visit the Growing Minds website.
Research & Resources
1. Harvest for Healthy Kids Pilot Study
Harvest for Healthy Kids Pilot Study: Associations Between Exposure to a Farm-to-Preschool Intervention and Willingness to Try and Liking of Target Fruits and Vegetables Among Low-Income Children in Head Start suggests that Harvest for Healthy Kids had a positive impact on willingness to try and liking of target foods. Other studies have shown that liking is a strong predictor of intake among children. Read more about the study here.
2. New USDA local procurement guide available
Just in time for the new school year, our revised guide, Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs, is now available and can help you decide how to buy local for your program. The guide covers procurement basics, defining local, where to find local products, and the variety of ways schools can purchase locally in accordance with regulations. This revision incorporates information about micro-purchases, buying local foods for child care and summer meal programs and more real-world examples. Check out the new guide for sample solicitation language, detailed geographic preference examples and helpful resources.
Policy & Action
1. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015.
Merced County high schools use local produce for school lunches
Perfect Summer is the name of Live Oak Farms’ sweet red and yellow peppers, delivered to Merced Union High School District (CA) campuses Wednesday. At Merced High School, the peppers are used in wraps and at cafeteria condiment stations. (via Merced Sun-Star)
Students learn to love their veggies — by planting them
A group of Oregon elementary-schoolers played a big role in promoting healthy eating habits this summer. The kids helped design and plant a local garden before celebrating their efforts with an all-veggie picnic. (via The Daily Astorian)