Finding, Buying and Serving Local Foods
Beginning January 2014 through June 2014, the USDA Farm to School Program will host two webinars each month to showcase the variety of ways school districts can purchase local foods. The webinars will be held at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Topics will include everything from procurement basics to using geographic preference, to finding local producers, to buying local through DoD Fresh. See the schedule below for more information.
- Finding Local Producers – February 13
- Using the Informal Procurement Method – February 27
- Using Specifications to Target Local Products – March 13
- Working with Distributors – March 27
- Using a Forward Contract – April 10
- Introduction to Geographic Preference – April 24
- Using Geographic Preference – May 8
- Using USDA Foods as Resource to Purchase Local – May 22
- Using DoD Fresh to Purchase Local – June 12
- Tying It All Together and Digging In – June 26
To register for one or several of the sessions, please click here. All webinars will be recorded and available on this page within 1-2 weeks of initial viewing. While each webinar will build on the ones before it, feel free to pick and choose sessions based on your interest.
Finding, Buying and Serving Local Foods: Working with Distributors, March 27, 2014
In this webinar, USDA’s Farm to School Team discussed how schools can purchase local products through distributors. A food service director from Tennessee and a farm to school coordinator from Georgia shared how they’ve been able to work with distributors to buy local foods. You can watch the recording here. You can also access a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
Fiscal Year 2015 Farm to School Grant Program
USDA hosted four webinars to assist eligible entities in preparing proposals for the FY 2015 Request for Applications. All webinars were recorded and will available via this webpage within 1-2 weeks of initial viewing. The presentation slides can be found below.
- Planning Grant Webinar: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 -1:00 p.m. EST
- Implementation Grant Webinar: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. EST
- Support Service Grant Webinar: Thursday, March 13, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. EST
- Conference/Event Grant Webinar: Friday, March 14, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. EST
Farm to School + Extension: Webinar #4: Highlighting Innovative Ways Extension Professionals are involved with the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, March 13, 2014
In this webinar, 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.
Finding, Buying and Serving Local Foods: Using the Specifications, Requirements and Evaluation Criteria to Target Local Products, March 13, 2014
In this webinar, we discuss how schools can purchase local products by using product specifications, vendor requirements and evaluation criteria. For example, schools can require that vendors offer farm visits or origin labeling, or a school might request a variety of product only grown in the nearby region. Watch the recording here. You can also access a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
Finding, Buying and Serving Local Foods: Using the Informal Procurement Method, February 27, 2014
In this webinar, Christina Conell from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service discusses how schools can purchase local products using the informal method. It can be as easy as schools contacting three (or more!) local producers for price quotes. This session showcases stories and tips from Union Public Schools in Oklahoma and Kalispell Public Schools in Montana. Watch the recording here. You can also access a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
Finding, Buying and Serving Local Foods: Finding Local Producers, February 13, 2014
In this webinar, Christina Conell from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service discusses the variety of ways that schools can connect with local farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses. The webinar covers online connection tools, requests for information, the role of state farm to school coordinators and state departments of agriculture, and USDA resources such as the Farm Service Agency's field offices and Cooperative Extension resources. Guest speakers from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University and a Michigan farm will share their tips for connecting with producers. Watch the recording here. You can also access a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
Finding, Buying and Serving Local Foods: Conducting a Local Procurement Baseline Assessment, January 23, 2014
In this webinar, Maggie Gosselin from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service discusses ways to define local, determine what local products you are already purchasing, and track local purchases in the future. This session showcases stories and tips from Page County Public Schools in Virginia and Oakland Unified Public Schools in California. Watch the recording here. You can also access a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
Finding, Buying and Serving Local Foods: Introduction to Procurement, January 9, 2014
In this webinar, Christina Conell and Maggie Gosselin from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service covered basic procurement fundamentals relevant to the Federal Child Nutrition Programs. Topics included informal and formal procurement methods and maintaining competition. This is the first in a series of webinars that will cover more specific topics in local procurement. Watch the recording here. You can also access a PDF of the slides here and a handout with general procurement resources here.
Farm to School + Extension: Webinar #3, December 4, 2013
In this webinar, 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 also 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 live recording here.
Farm to School + Extension: Webinar #2, November 20, 2013
In this webinar, 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 currently 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 live recording here.
Farm to School Census Sneak Peak, September 26, 2013
In this webinar, Deborah Kane, National Director, USDA Farm to School Program previewed the USDA Farm to School Census. The Census was recently completed and surveyed over 13,000 school districts to determine the prevalence of farm to school programs in the United States. Watch the live recording here.
Farm to School + Extension: Webinar #1, September 25, 2013
In this webinar, 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 live recording here.
Support Service Grants, March 7, 2013
Implementation Grants, March 6, 2013
Planning Grants, March 5, 2013
Grants.gov, February 27, 2013
- Review the archived presentation slides here.
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 live 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 live recording from our webinar here.
All things Farm to School at USDA, October 16, 2012
In this webinar, Deborah Kane, National Director of USDA’s Farm to School Program, provides a review of USDA’s farm to school activities in fiscal year 2012, discusses early insights from the first round of farm to school grant applications, and shares thoughts regarding fiscal year 2013 priorities. Watch the live recording here.
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