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Today's guest blogger is another of our fantastic California FoodCorps service members, Liz Puris. Liz serves in the North Coast office of Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), where she works hard on making strong local sourcing a reality for many schools throughout Sonoma County.

Liz also supports school gardens in a few Sonoma County schools, and found an amazing (and very cute!) way to foster connections and learning in the garden using the FoodCorps network. Read on to see how it's paid off!

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We had a great time last week presenting a webinar on how Oakland Unified School District put together its robust Farm to School program by dreaming big and following through on some important projects. Even better news is that if you missed the webinar, you can still view it! See below for the YouTube video.

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One of the major reasons we organized as a statewide network to share powerful and interesting stories, methods, and best practices that can inspire you to take your Farm to School work to new heights.

One of the ways we'll do this sharing is through a series of engaging webinars that highlight the best of the best in Farm to School around the state--the "cream of the crop," so to speak!

We are so pleased to offer our first of these webinars on April 1st, 2014, at 11am. We'll be sharing the story of Oakland Unified School District and we know that you'll learn a lot from this great case study.

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We absolutely loved all of the amazing submissions you sent us for our School Lunch Photo Contest! We received so many beautiful photos, each one with a note about what made the meal special, and how it represented the great Farm to School work being done at each school.

It was so hard to pick just one to win the contest--see for yourself as you click through this album below:

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Our guest blogger today is Ally Lemmer, a FoodCorps Service Member who serves with both Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and Life Lab in the Central Coast region. Read on to hear about Ally's work with the Harvest of the Month program and how FoodCorps plays a role in boosting that program's impact in the South Bay and Central Coast! To learn more about FoodCorps in California, visit our page on the FoodCorps website.

Depending on your region and school district, farm to school programs often take many different faces. From sourcing local produce from a nearby farm or harvesting some carrots and beets in your own school garden, there are endless of ways of how a farm to school program can be implemented in your own school district or community. For my service, the role I play in building up farm to school is through Harvest of the Month programming (HOTM).

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If you haven't yet marked your calendar, USDA is accepting applications for their annual Farm to School Grant program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015!

Final applications are due at 9pm Pacific on April 30th, 2014, which makes March and April a busy time for Farm to School advocates. Many of you are seeking information and insight about how to obtain one of these highly valuable and extremely competitive grants. Read below for tips on how to fully take advantage of this opportunity!

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