Featured Videos and Webinars
Planning for Farm to School Success in 2016
NOTE: All webinars will be recorded and published here as soon as possible!
Preliminary results of the 2015 Farm to School Census tell us that more than 1,700 school districts don’t yet have farm to school programs, but are interested in starting one. We’re here to help! Through this 11-part series, we’ll guide you through the USDA Farm to School Planning Toolkit. Served up in bite-sized 30 minute webinars, we’ll offer questions to consider and helpful resources to reference when starting or growing a farm to school program. Guest speakers will join the webinars to share their hands on farm to school experiences.
- Intro to Farm to School: Planning and Building a Team: January 14, 1:00 PM EST
How does a farm to school team function? Learn tips and best practices for building a farm to school team, facing struggles and surprises, and building a foundation for a successful project. Steve Marinelli, Food Service Director from Milton Town, Vermont, joins us to share his first-hand experiences.
Recording and Presentation slides (pdf)
- Setting goals and Establishing an Evaluation Baseline: January 28, 2:00 PM EST
How do you know if your activities are helping local farmers and improving student health? Learn how to integrate program planning/evaluation tools and techniques that will document outcomes and show the impacts of farm to school programs. Lyn Kathlene, Director at Spark Policy Institute, shares valuable evaluation insights and recommendations for measuring farm to school success.
Recording and Presentation slides (pdf)
- Finding and Buying Local Foods: February 4, 2:00 PM EST
USDA Farm to School local food procurement guru, Christina Conell, breaks down the how to’s of finding and buying local food. We’ll cover a few procurement basics and then focus on where the opportunities are to target local products in the purchasing process. Join to gain insights on how to start making change in your process, big or small. Hungy for more? Check out our webpage dedicated to procuring local foods!
Recording and Presentation slides (pdf)
- Farm to School Menu Planning: February 18, 2:00 PM EST
Bring local products to life on your school menus! Chef Kent Getzin, Director of Food Services in Wenatchee, WA will share a variety of ways to incorporate local products into your school recipes, salad bars, and cycle menus so they become permanent items in your kitchen inventory. Prepare for the presentation by drooling over the local food featured in The Lunch Room: Wenatchee's Farm to School Movement.
- Food Safety: March 3, 2:00 PM EST
How can we ensure the safety of farm fresh food? We’ll share local food safety best practices, including identifying safety measures for school gardens and school salad bars.
- Promoting Your Farm to School Program: March 17, 2:00 PM EDT
You’ve put in so much hard work! Now, how do you promote your farm to school program to ensure student, school, and community engagement? Hear about programs that have successfully promoted farm to school programs while managing a tight budget.
- School Gardening: March 31, 2:00 PM EDT
Hear about the different ways to incorporate school gardens into your farm to school program as well as hear how schools are successfully procuring school garden produce for their meal programs.
- Curriculum Integration: April 7, 2:00 PM EDT
Experiential education is an important component of successful farm to school programs. This webinar will help you plan for your farm to school educational efforts and brainstorm food, agriculture, and nutrition-related educational activities with which you can engage students.
- Program Sustainability: April 28, 2:00 PM EDT
Your farm to school project is blooming! But what will happen if funding levels decrease or community interest lags? With this webinar, plan ahead for these potential scenarios and learn about program sustainability best practices.
- Evaluating Your Program: May 12, 2:00 PM EDT
We all know that farm to school programs create positive economic impacts for local and regional farmers and improve the health and well-being of our nation’s children. But how can we measure these changes to document these positive impacts? Hear from seasoned farm to school evaluators to learn best practices for evaluating your farm to school efforts.
- Tying it All Together and Digging In: May 26, 2:00 PM EDT
Join us for a healthy dose of motivation! Deborah Kane, Director of USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems, will hit the highlights by showing how local procurement fits into the larger farm to school picture and share several resources to help you meet your local purchasing goals.
Healthy Habits Take Root Video Series
In celebration of National Farm to School Month, we bring you a five-part video series featuring testimonials from more than 30 USDA Farm to School grantees. From Maine to Alaska, USDA supports farm to school programs all across the country. School districts - large, small, urban and rural - are serving local products and teaching students where their food comes from. The videos highlight the many ways grantees are bringing the farm to school.
2015 USDA Farm to School Census
March 3, 2015: USDA Farm to School staff hosted a webinar for State agencies and other farm to school partners to provide an overview about the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census, including information about the Census questionnaire, survey invitation process, and timeline for data collection and analysis. A recording of the webinar is not yet available. You can also access a PDF of the slides here.
USDA Farm to School Program Updates
October 29, 2015: Deborah Kane, Director of FNS’s Office of Community Food Systems, reviews the USDA Farm to School Program’s accomplishments and discuss what lies ahead as the Farm to School Program settles into its new home in the Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems. Topics will include a review of new farm to school resources, preliminary results and plans for the second USDA Farm to School Census, and several new areas of emphasis, including farm to summer, farm to preschool, and incorporating traditional foods into child nutrition programs.Watch the recording here.
January 20, 2015: Deborah Kane, National Director of the Farm to School Program, breaks down the successes of 2014 and outlines plans for 2015. Topics include the next Farm to School Census and new resources the USDA Farm to School Program will be developing. This is first of what we expect to be a regular opportunity to learn more about the USDA Farm to School Program’s activities. Watch the recording here.
Farm to School and the New Meal Pattern Webinar
November 29, 2012: In this webinar, USDA Farm to School personnel, FNS Child Nutrition Program staff, a food service director from Valley City Public Schools, North Dakota, and a farm to school coordinator from Denver Public Schools address the new meal pattern in general and inclusion of local and regional products in specific. Watch the recording here.
USDA Farm to School Grant Program
Fiscal Year 2016 Farm to School Request for Applications
March 2015: Review of Fiscal Year 2016 Grant Application Process
Trends in Successful USDA Farm to School Grant Applications
December 11, 2012: During the first round of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, hundreds of applicants across the country competed for a limited amount of funding. To aid applicants in increasing the competitiveness of future submissions, USDA Farm to School personnel summarize trends observed in successful FY 2013 USDA Farm to School Grant applications. Watch the recording here.
Finding, Buying and Serving Local Foods Webinar Series
In 2014, the USDA Farm to School Program hosted webinars to showcase the variety of ways school districts can purchase local foods. The series starts with an introduction to basic procurement principles, and then walks participants through strategies and tactics for buying local foods. The entire series can be viewed online:
2. Conducting a Local Procurement Baseline Assessment: Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
5. Using the Specifications, Requirements and Evaluation Criteria to Target Local Products: Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
Farm to School + Extension
Webinar Series: September 2013-March 2014
1: Emily Jackson of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project shared outcomes from a tri-state project that examined the roles of Cooperative Extension in farm to school. She was joined by Teresa Wiemerslage from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who shared how she is supporting local food procurement, school wellness, and youth engagement in Northeast Iowa. Watch the recording here.
2: Julia Govis from University of Illinois Extension shared information about how she is leading farm to school in Illinois through the development of educational resources and curriculum to support Extension work in its diverse program areas. Morgan Taggart from Ohio State University Extension described how OSU Extension has prioritized involvement in farm to school and how other Extension professionals in urban and suburban areas can be involved with farm to school related activities. Morgan also shared how she is involved with farm to school across the Cleveland area through school gardens, local food procurement, and local food and agriculture curriculum development/instruction. Watch the recording here.
3: Debra Eschmeyer, FoodCorps Co-Founder and Rachel Spencer, Arkansas FoodCorps Fellow described FoodCorps’ model of teaching kids about what healthy food is and where it comes from, building and tending school gardens, and bringing high-quality local food into public school cafeterias. Deb and Rachel showcased how FoodCorps is successfully partnering with Cooperative Extension at the state level in five regions. Additionally, Susan DeBlieck, Extension Educator in Community Food Systems with University of Minnesota Extension, described how University of Minnesota Extension has strategically supported farm to school throughout Minnesota by collaborating with partners to provide training and develop materials. Susan also highlighted Extension staff roles that promote farm to cafeteria work and resources including their online farm to school toolkit. Watch the recording here.
4: Jason Fischbach from the University of Wisconsin Extension and Seth Urbanowitz from the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension shared their experiences supporting two USDA Farm to School Grant Program projects through local and regional food procurement and school garden based experiential education. You can access a PDF copy of the slides here. Watch the recording here.
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