Written By: Allie Hoffman, Program Manager, Community Alliance with Family Farmers
Three weeks ago, 340 California Farm to School and Garden practitioners gathered in Modesto for three days of field trips, workshops, inspiring keynotes, networking and food.
Helen Dombalis sharing her Farm to School story during the opening keynote
Attendees represented all areas of farm to school, ranging from farmers, to food service professionals, garden educators, government employees, nonprofits and more. It’s hard to focus on any one single moment from the conference to highlight in this article, particularly because there were so many different workshops that one could have attended. So instead, I’m going to share a few of the highlights from my experience planning and attending the conference.
Leading up to the conference, I was fortunate enough to have the job of connecting with so many of you. Whether I was reviewing workshop proposals, connecting with partners on social media or coordinating with the amazing CFSN regional leads, it was such a pleasure to get to connect with farm to school innovators from all around the state. Continue reading
Please note – applications are now closed. Thanks to everyone who turned in applications!
School districts throughout California are taking advantage of a new program to purchase fruits and vegetables from a variety of local vendors using USDA Foods entitlement funding.
Why sign up?
The UFVPP gives school districts the opportunity to purchase locally and domestically grown produce from a variety of competitive local vendors. By supporting the program during this Pilot phase, California school districts are participating with seven other states to determine whether the Pilot will be renewed in 2019.
With support of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers will be working with Food Service Directors, UFVPP vendors and California family farms to utilize the Pilot program.
How does it work?
School food authorities (SFAs) submit the following brief application to allocate a portion of their USDA Foods entitlement funding to use with approved local vendors. The Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) is available to help Food Service Directors find the approved vendors that best fit their needs and navigate bid processes to meet USDA procurement guidelines. If vendors aren’t available or able to be established in some areas of California, SFAs will be able to have the money reallocated in early fall.
CAFF will also be working with SFAs to support California family farms, providing cafeteria educational signage and tracking impact on growers for districts using the Pilot program.
Applications only take a few minutes and are being accepted through February 17th. Sign up now to support local and American growers using USDA foods entitlement funding.
Please contact Ben Thomas to learn more about connecting with local vendors and resources through CAFF (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The full announcement from CDE is as follows:
Thanks to everyone who participated in National Farm to School Month! Whether you crunched, planted a garden or participated in another activity, your impact is immeasurable. Well actually….while we can’t measure the way a child’s face lights up when they bite into a persimmon for the first time, we used the data that we received from the Golden Seed Awards applications and the USDA Farm to School Census to measure the broader impact of farm to school statewide. We compiled the data in an infographic that we’re calling “Farm to School Matters.” View the infographic here.
The California Farm to School Network (CFSN) invites you to submit a proposal for the 2017 California Farm to School and Garden Conference: Connecting the Garden, Cafeteria and the Classroom. The 2nd biannual CFSN conference will cover a variety of topics designed to support and inspire farm to school and school garden practitioners all around the state! This is your opportunity to share your expertise and innovative ideas to help grow the farm to school and school garden movement in California. Please visit the conference page to view examples from the 2015 CFSN Conference.
For more information, download the informational pdf. When you are ready to submit a proposal, use this link. Proposals are due by December 2nd.
Don’t forget to sign up to celebrate National Farm to School Month and Food Day by participating in the California Local Produce Crunch!
Kicking off National Farm to School Month with a bang, we were so excited to announce the winners of the Golden Seed Awards in our newsletter earlier this week! The awards highlight farm to school efforts throughout California.
A student at Manteca Unified shows off their harvest
With a number of competitive applicants, we honored winners across 11 regions and three award categories, including Sow, Grow and Harvest. In addition, nearly 20 schools and districts were recognized with honorable mentions.
The Golden Seed Awards were created to recognize farm to school champions and foster recognition of California schools and districts that are beginning to grow their farm to school programs. Applicants were evaluated on their unique and innovative programs as well as their contributions to the three pillars of farm to school: procurement, education and gardens.