Written by: Colin Cureton, San Diego Childhood Obesity Initiative and CFSN San Diego Regional Lead
On a hot Friday morning in early September, over 30 people convened in Carlsbad, CA for the latest CFSN SoCal regional meeting. Members of the San Diego County Farm to School Taskforce and Orange County Farm to School Taskforce in attendance included SoCal school districts, local farmers, produce distributors, local government, universities, nonprofits, and more. The meeting was facilitated by Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP), which houses the San Diego County Farm to School Taskforce. We started by hearing summer updates and success stories. One local aquaponic grower, Solutions Farm, shared how they worked with CHIP to sell their summer harvest of greens to a meal provider that serves senior centers and rehabilitation programs. CHIP announced that they are collaborating with the Center for Ecoliteracy to expand the successful California Thursdays program in San Diego County to up to a dozen districts this school year! Two San Diego County school districts, Vista and Sweetwater, shared progress on the 6-month process they are going through with CHIP to create a 3-year farm-to-school plan. Folks were also encouraged to attend a major upcoming event in the SoCal farm to school community, the Let’s Go Local! Produce Showcase on October 23rd in Encinitas, CA.
At this gathering CHIP released its 2015-2016 Crop Availability Chart, which shows projected month-by-month availability of 75 crops for 50 San Diego County farmers for the 2015-2016 year. This tool is designed to help schools and other institutions in San Diego County more easily procure more fresh, healthy, local produce.
During open networking time at the end of the meeting, the room was buzzing with energy! By coming together to disseminate new tools, strengthen connections, and collaborate, it was clear that this gathering has set up Southern California for another great year of advancing the farm-to-school movement.
About the Author: Colin Cureton is the Food Systems Director of San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, which is facilitated by the Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP).
San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative fulfills its mission, the Initiative creates, supports, and mobilizes partners from multiple domains (i.e., sectors); provides leadership and vision; provides education and advocacy; and coordinates and sustains county-wide efforts in the prevention and reduction of childhood obesity. To learn more about San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, please visit their website.