Schools Are Making a BIG Impact
Watch this new video to learn how farm to school is making a difference all across the country. Take one small step and share this video across your networks!
Keeping the Tradition Alive: Community Food Systems in Native Communities
USDA's Office of Community Food Systems hosted a four-part webinar series focused on integrating farm to school strategies in native communities. Each webinar features a guest speaker who will share tips, stories, and best practices for keeping local food traditions alive in child nutrition programs that serve tribal populations.
- What Does Farm to School Look Like in Native American Communities? April 6, 2016
This webinar will offer an overview of what community food systems may look like in tribal communities. Farm to school efforts help children make informed food choices and can support local agricultural producers. Mark Sorensen, co-founder of the Star School located in Arizona, will share tips, best practices, and innovative ideas for starting a farm to school program. Pam Kingfisher, National Farm to School Network Southwest Regional Lead-Tribal Cohort, will provide an overview about the work the National Farm to School Network has been doing in native communities. Recording and Presentation slides.
- Incorporating Traditional Foods in Child Nutrition Program Menus: April 20, 2016
Where do traditional foods fit? In this webinar we'll discuss best practices for incorporating traditional foods into child nutrition programs. Jo Dawson with Alaska's Department Education and Early Development will share how Alaskan communities are integrating local foods. Jenny Montague, a nutritionist with FNS, will share some real life examples of districts that are substituting local foods into CNP meals. Recording and Presentation slides.
- Partnering for Success in Tribal Communities: May 18, 2016
Everything is better together, right? In this webinar, we'll hear from Jim Stone, the Executive Director of the Intertribal Buffalo Council, and Venice Mason, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will highlight successful partnerships they have cultivated in their communities. This webinar will identify strategies to engage local producers and community leaders in your farm to school efforts. This webinar will identify strategies to engage local producers and community leaders in your farm to school efforts. Recording and Presentation slides.
- Engaging Students: May 25, 2016
Incorporating nutrition education related to traditional food items into cultural activities such as ceremonial songs and storytelling helps students to identify food as part of Native American heritage. This webinar will help you plan for farm to school educational efforts which engage students throughout the year. Gloria Begay, a Navajo Educator, will highlight school garden efforts and local foods activities in summer meals. A recording will be available shortly. Recording and Presentation slides.
Planning for Farm to School Success in 2016
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. *Please note, OCFS is no longer processing certificates for SNA CEUs related to these recorded webinars.
- Intro to Farm to School: Planning and Building a Team: Jan. 14, 2016
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: Jan. 28, 2016
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: Feb. 4, 2016
USDA Farm to School local food procurement guru, Christina Conell, breaks down the how-tos 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. Hungry for more? Check out our webpage dedicated to procuring local foods! Recording and Presentation slides (pdf)
- Farm to School Menu Planning: Feb. 18, 2016
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. Recording and Presentation slides (pdf)
- Food Safety: March 3, 2016
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. Joining us is Londa Nwadike, PhD, who serves as Extension Food Safety Specialist for both Kansas State University and the University of Missouri. She works with small-scale produce farmers, farmers market vendors, as well as schools and consumers on food safety-related issues. Recording and Presentation slides (pdf)
- Promoting Your Farm to School Program: March 17, 2016
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. Chef Ann Cooper, Food Service Director for Boulder Valley School District in Colorado, joins us with tips and tricks for successful promotion. Recording and Presentation slides (pdf)
- School Gardening: March 31, 2016
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. Recording and Presentation slides (pdf)
- Curriculum Integration: April 7, 2016
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. Recording and Presentation slides (pdf)
- Program Sustainability: April 28, 2016
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. Recording and Presentation slides (pdf)
- Evaluating Your Program: May 12, 2016
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. Recording and Presentation slides (pdf)
- Tying it All Together and Digging In: May 26, 2016
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.
Recording and Presentation slides (pdf)
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
Aug. 11, 2016: Staff from USDA's Farm to School Program and the National Farm to School Network hosted a webinar providing an in-depth review of the 2015 Farm to School Census. Presenters summarized the Farm to School Census website and highlighted the raw data files and data explorer tool. Presenters also described ways in which Census data can be used at the local, state, and national levels in support of farm to school. You can access a recording here.
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. You can access a PDF of the slides here.
USDA Farm to School Program Updates
Oct. 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.
Jan. 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.
Farm to School and the New Meal Pattern Webinar
Nov. 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
Dec. 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:
- Introduction to Procurement: Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with general procurement resources here.
- Conducting a Local Procurement Baseline Assessment: Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
- Finding Local Producers: Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
- Using the Informal Procurement Method: Download a handout with helpful resources here.
- 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.
- Using a Forward Contract: Download a handout with helpful resources here.
- Introduction to Geographic Preference: Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
- Using Geographic Preference: Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
- Using USDA Foods as Resource to Purchase Local: Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
- Using DoD Fresh to Purchase Local: Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
- Tying It All Together and Digging In: Download a PDF of the slides here and a handout with helpful resources here.
Farm to School + Extension
Webinar Series: September 2013-March 2014
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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