North Valley Region

Regional Lead: Sheila McQuaid, Center for Healthy Communities (formerly known as Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion), smcquaid@csuchico.edu

About Sheila and CHC

Shelia McQuaidSheila started working at the CHC after running her own small farm growing heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs for three years. Sheila coordinates the purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables for the programs at CHC and SCNAC, as well as the Farmer of the Month educational newsletter. She has also been part of a video team that has produced two Farmer focused videos to connect children to where their food comes from. She is passionate about supporting local food systems and building a greater connection between children, teachers, local farmers, and the community to promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables and daily physical activity for better health.

The Center for Healthy Communities (CHC), formerly CNAP,  at CSU Chico Research Foundation,  farm to school programs include:

  • Harvest of the Month & Farmer of the Month programs where CHC prepares and delivers over 20,000 tastings of fresh and local fruits, vegetables, and nuts to 42 elementary schools in 17 school districts within Butte, Glenn, Tehama and Colusa counties, all purchased directly from local growers.  Each month a grower is highlighted and children and their families encouraged to “Find their Farmer” at an area farmers’ markets. Find out more on the CFSN blog!
  • Technical assistance to area schools’ food service directors to support local procurement.
  • The CHC has produced three Farmer of the Month videos, the fourth on a persimmon grower will be available soon — two more will be produced in the next year.
  • The Farm to School program at CHC also hosts a FoodCorps service member who serves with the Harvest of the Month program as well as teaching nutrition and garden education courses and being an active member in the community.
  • Currently the Farm to School program at CHC is launching its newest project – a School Farm Stand in Colusa County. The purpose of this program is to have fresh and local foods available to the community in the Farmers’ Market off-season.  The farm stand project will offer recipe tastings and CalFresh Outreach as well as low cost seasonal produce from area growers, purchased primarily via the new North Valley Food Hub.

Upcoming events

CHC is planning its second “Cooking Day”, scratch cooking event for area School Food Service directors and their staff this summer.  Skills training, recipe demos, procurement workshop and team building are the focus. Please email Sheila McQuaid, smcquaid@csuchico.edu, for more information.

Key publications and resources published

CHC is in the process of making the user-friendly videos that will help farmers learn about farm safety, implement good agricultural practices and create the documents they need for an on-site food safety plan.

CHC also has a food safety manager certificate training for those entities who have a food permit or use a processing kitchen.

How to get involved

Please email Sheila McQuaid, smcquaid@csuchico.edu, for more information on how to be involved.