Category Archives: Uncategorized

Los Angeles Preschoolers Enjoy Harvest of the Month from Local Farms

Written by Rosa Romero, MEd – Farm to Preschool Director, Urban & Environmental Policy Institute

There is an exciting new Farm to Preschool Pilot underway in Los Angeles! Since 2009, the Farm to Preschool (F2P) Program at the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College (UEPI) has partnered with Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment Early Childhood Education (PACE ECE) to develop curriculum to promote healthy eating and an understanding of where food comes from. PACE ECE operates 14 fully licensed Head Start State Preschool child-care and development centers serving 1,110 children age three to five throughout Los Angeles. Over the past few years UEPI and PACE ECE developed a comprehensive model Wellness Policy for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity that incorporates mandated policies such as making drinking water available to students indoors and outdoors (Assembly Bill 2084), offering nutrition and health education classes for parents (Head Start  Performance Standards: 1304.23d) as well as specific F2P components of incorporating local foods into meals and snacks, weekly nutrition lessons, taste tests, gardening, and connecting with regional farmers through field-trips to farms and farmers’ market and classroom visits by farmers. This model wellness policy has been used to train dozens of preschools in the Los Angeles area on how to create similar policies at their sites. Continue reading

Friendly Red Wigglers Amend School Garden Soil

Written by: Kim Oldham, FoodCorps Service Member with UCCE Central Sierra 

I have asked children on many occasions what they want to do in the garden and almost every time it leads to the same thing – they want to dig in the dirt. I question my maturity daily because if you were to ask me that same question you would get the same response. One of my best memories with the kids is their first encounter with a Black Soldier Fly Larvae. You can just imagine the screams of disgust as they called me over. I calmly picked it up and had a discussion about it and then simply placed it in the little girls hand and said ”Here you go you can put it back in the compost so it can do its job.” Without hesitation she skipped off and put it back. At that moment besides the internal giggling I realized how much I influence my students.  Since my service I have tried to create as many ways to give these kids the opportunity to get dirty. So lets talk compost! Continue reading

A Day in the Life: rainbows and worm tea and produce, oh my!

Written by: Lydia Yamaguchi, FoodCorps Service Member with Oakland Unified School District 

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 5.32.51 PMThis piece is an overview of FoodCorps service in one of the largest school districts in California (i.e. Oakland Unified School District). Lydia takes us a on walk through of a “typical day of service” and how Oakland Unified is promoting farm to school through direct education and weekly farmers’ market stands. Continue reading

Farmer to School Mixer a Hit in the South Central Coast

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

California Thursdays: Collective Action Day

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

The Life Cycle of a Produce Market Seedling

Written by: Cassie Spindler, FoodCorps Service Member with Oakland Unified School District 

 IMG_0291There are so many joyful moments as a FoodCorps service member, and they originate from the biggest successes, like sourcing 17,000 weekly servings of local and organic oranges for our Harvest of the Month program, to the smallest, like a student coming back for second helpings of a new food after you had to wheedle them to take first helpings to begin with. And there are teachable moments aplenty as well, as many for you as for your students. Of course: sometimes the days are long, sometimes there’s fried rice from recipe testing stuck to the inside of your car, and sometimes the bureaucracy of effecting change seems insurmountable, but at the end of the day, everybody agrees: we do it for the kids. Continue reading