Here, at the California Farm to School Network, we are so excited to announce the first California Golden Seed Awards! Over the past two years, we have been increasingly impressed and inspired by the growing interest and implementation of Farm to School programs around the state. From student learning that they love lettuce after a taste test, to the $167,644,000 CA school districts spent on local produce, as reported in the USDA Farm to School Census, each impact is significant.

The Golden Seed Awards are meant not only to recognize Farm to School champions, but also to foster recognition of schools or districts that are just starting to grow their Farm to School programs. Whether you started your first school garden this year or have an established a student run-farm – we want to hear from you! Applicants will be evaluated by their contributions to the three pillars of Farm to School – procurement, education, and school gardens. With three different awards categories, anyone can win!golden seed final

Sow, Grow and Harvest awards will be granted to applicants participating in at least one, two or three of the pillars (respectively). Awards will be chosen by a committee established by CFSN and will be announced in mid-August. Prizes include passes to the 2017 California Farm to School Conference, passes to pre-conference field trips, technical assistance for beginning programs and lots of media attention!

Above all, your application helps CFSN keep a pulse on Farm to School around the state, identifying our strengths and opportunities to grow. We know that Farm to School efforts aren’t always acknowledged in the fast-paced world of education, so we thank you. We are excited to hear from you and honor the great work happening all around the state.

To apply, please visit www.cafarmtoschool.org/about/goldenseed.

For any questions, please contact farmtoschool@caff.org.

This project is supported by Whole Foods Market Northern California and Reno as well as  the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. 

Written by: Hayley Baumgartner, FoodCorps Service Member with Center for Healthy Communities 

FullSizeRender“Hey!, Hey!!, HEEEYYYY!!! What do you guys have today??” a pair of fourth grade girls call to me through the chain link fence as I am setting up a farm stand booth in the hot valley sun. “We have strawberries today,” I call back and they squeal “YESSSS!” in excitement as they jump up and down. “We brought money today” they tell me enthusiastically.  ...continue reading Farm Stands and Schools: How to Successfully Sell Produce to Elementary Students

Written by: Luisa Accorsi, FoodCorps Service Member with Conejo Valley Unified School District

IMG_0597Getting connected is a big goal for the participants of the South Central Coast Regional of the CA Farm to School Network. This particular network includes Conejo Valley, Ventura, Rio, Oxnard, Hueneme, and Ojai. Last month we threw a mixer with the intention of bringing together our food service directors, farmers, and garden and nutrition educators so that we could get to know one another better and show each other what we’re doing at our sites. ...continue reading Farmer to School Mixer a Hit in the South Central Coast

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Written by: Aislíng Mitchell, FoodCorps Service Member with Oakland Unified School District

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 4.07.35 PMI’ve always loved working with school gardens to grow healthy, happy kids. But I want to make sure our hard work continues outside of our garden walls. My new strategy started when I discovered our school’s farmers market always had leftover kale. I questioned our local parents and discovered that the parents in our community did not believe their kids would eat this dark green leaf. ...continue reading How to Turn Leftover Kale into a Celebrated Vegetable

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Written by: Elizabeth Esparza, FoodCorps Service Member with Pittsburg Unified School District 

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Fifth graders at Willow Cove Elementary in Pittsburg, CA make an alternative snack to Takis. The secret recipe, you ask? It's just lime, cayenne, and freshly cut jicama.

Fifth graders at Willow Cove Elementary in Pittsburg are on a mission to make their school Takis free. Takis are a popular spicy rolled tortilla chip snack, similar to Hot Cheetos in spice and unhealthiness. For a project in class, students began to do some research on the unhealthy and potentially harmful ingredients present in the snack and found that they just could not keep the knowledge to themselves. ...continue reading Say No to Takis! Fifth Graders Work to Make Their School a Healthier Place

Written by: Sandy Curwood, RDN, MS, Director of Child Nutrition Services with Conejo Valley Unified School District 

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Director of Child Nutrition Services, Sandy Curwood, serves up a California Thursdays® recipe at the CA Farm to School Network Conference last spring.

California Thursdays® is what’s for lunch in school cafeterias across the golden state. On March 17th, 58 California school districts collectively took action showcasing the abundance of seasonal, regionally procured, delicious and nutritious foods in school cafeterias.  ...continue reading California Thursdays: Collective Action Day