California Farm to School Network Needs Assessment

Last summer, many of you helped us as we conducted a needs assessment and developed a transition plan for the California Farm to School Network. The results are out!

The California Farm to School Network Needs Assessment is available online and dives into the history of the Network, discusses opportunities and challenges facing the Network, and makes recommendations for the Network moving forward.

Thank you to all who participated in the process – by answering survey questions, sitting down for an interview, and all your ongoing work to support California farm to school programs.

Congratulations to California’s 2018 USDA Farm to School Grantees!

USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems announced today that 73 communities in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Guam have been awarded farm to school grants to explore, expand, or scale up their farm to school activities. The 2018 awards total $5.2 million, and will impact 2.8 million students.

Congratulations to our California Grantees:

  • Bakersfield City School District, Bakersfield

Through partnership, collaboration, and engagement, Bakersfield City School District will create a comprehensive network that incorporates food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste recovery.

  • Colusa County Office of Education, Colusa

Colusa County Office of Education (CCOE) will actively partner with the Colusa Indian Community Hand In Hand Learning Center, Williams Unified School District, Colusa County Resource Conservation District, and the Center for Healthy Communities to develop a comprehensive plan to incorporate locally grown foods on student meal trays and at home. The CCOE garden site will include a greenhouse for seedlings, leafy greens and vegetables in raised beds, and a small orchard of nut and fruit trees. The garden sites will also include a laboratory pathway of native grasses, shrubs, and trees that may be used as a “science classroom” for programs working to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Future Farmers of America members from around the county will also be able to use the “science classroom” as a training site.

  • Humboldt County Office of Education, Eureka

Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) will develop a comprehensive farm to school program in after-school settings to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables and improve food and agricultural literacy for low-income students. Currently, their after-school students participate in HCOE’s Harvest of the Month (HOTM) culinary activities that feature local fruits and vegetables. This project will build on the HOTM framework by integrating hands-on gardening, experiential field trip opportunities, and local procurement for supper meals.

  • Los Molinos Unified School District, Los Molinos

Los Molinos Unified School District will develop relationships with industry partners and programs to build a new greenhouse and utilize the Horticulture Pathway. The district will develop cross-curricular lessons in various career pathways while Los Molinos High School will plan which fruits and vegetables will be grown in the new greenhouse. Students will be involved in a work-based learning environment that consists of preparing the soil, growing seedlings, supporting vegetation, crop management, crop production, and food preparation. A soil center, shade house, and a grape orchard will be developed and include crops such as carrots, lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, celery, and grapes. The future intent is to provide these vegetables and fruits to all three schools within the Los Molinos Unified School District.

Upcoming Workshops at the Garden Classroom

UPCOMING EDUCATOR WORKSHOPS IN THE LIFE LAB GARDEN CLASSROOM

Help your school garden grow by attending an educator workshop at the Garden Classroom!

View workshop descriptions and register for the following workshops:

  • 4/20/18 – Introduction to Next Generation Science in the Garden
  • 4/21/18 – Developing Your NGSS Lessons
  • 5/4/18 – Math & Language Arts in the Garden
  • 6/20/18 – School Gardens Tour
  • 6/21-22/18 – The Growing Classroom
  • 7/26-27/18 – Outdoor Classroom Management
  • 9/14/18 – Sowing the Seeds of Wonder, Part 1 –  Designing the Preschool Garden Learning Environment
  • 9/15/18 – Sowing the Seeds of Wonder, Part 2 – Garden Activities that Inspire a Love of Learning, Healthy Food & Nature
  • 9/21/18 – Introduction to Next Generation Science in the Garden
  • 9/22/18 – Developing Your NGSS Lessons
  • 10/11-12/18 – Plant to Plate – Garden-Enhanced Nutrition Education
  • 10/13/18 – FoodLab the Kitchen Classroom

Learn more at: www.lifelab.org/gcworkshops

Good Food Showcase – March 8th!

This Thursday, March 8th at the Shrine Center in Livermore, California!

You’re invited to the Northern California Good Food Showcase, a trade show and networking event that connects institutional buyers to growers and distributors throughout the Bay Area and across California.

Schools, hospitals and universities are making California-grown, real food a regular part of their menus. This event will not only showcase products available to you, but give you an opportunity to learn best practices and share resources with other buyers in the state. This is the event of the year for expanding, celebrating, and connecting to the good food movement across our communities.

For more event information visit https://www.caff.org/gfshowcase/

There is still time to register!

October is Farm to School Month

October is National Farm to School Month and we are off to an amazing start! Secretary Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture signed a proclamation designating October as Farm to School Month in California last week. CDFA and the Office of Farm to Fork recognize the importance of farm to school programs in the state as a way to support California’s farmers, school children, and the economy.

Farm to School Month provides an opportunity to show all of the great work being done as well as how anyone – students, parents, nutrition professionals – can get involved and make changes to advance farm to school in their local communities. Join schools hosting farm to school activities, like Natomas Unified School District who will  take students out to visit a local farm or Oroville schools participating in local Crunch events, where students simultaneously bite into local apples to show their support for healthy, seasonal foods.

Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with healthy food, local producers, and nature by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools. The most recent USDA Farm to School Census reported that 55% of California schools participate in farm to school activities. This represents over 3.4 million California students, or approximately half of all K-12 students.There are numerous long-standing and emergent farm to school programs throughout the state and the California Farm to School Network aims to inspire, connect, and educate both old and new.  To learn more, check out the California Farm to School Network and the National Farm to School Network.