Written by: Nicole Sturzenberger, CDFA, Office of Farm to Fork
The California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Farm to Fork is excited to begin the transition of the California Farm to School Network to our office. As the new Network lead, we look forward to strengthening the already robust movement built by CAFF and all farm to school stakeholders throughout California. During and after this transition, we will continue partnerships with CAFF, leading procurement efforts, UEPI, leading early childhood education work, and Lifelab, leading school garden efforts. The Office was also selected as the 2017-2019 National Farm to School Network California Core Partner and looks forward to communicating national farm to school efforts. These new roles recognize the Office’s leadership in the farm to school efforts and will provide new opportunities for us to continue building capacity and support for farm to school and early childhood education (ECE) activities in California.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Farm to Fork was initially an objective of the Health in All Policies (HiAP) Task Force’s Farm to Fork Implementation Plan, endorsed by the Strategic Growth Council in January of 2012. With HiAP’s help, the Department of Education (CDE), Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), and Department of Public Health (CDPH) collaborated to form the Office of Farm to Fork within CDFA. The Office was formally and permanently established within CDFA when Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 2413 in 2014. Charged with increasing access to healthy foods for underserved communities and schools in the state, the Office of Farm to Fork has engaged in both on the ground and statewide efforts to increase access to California grown and produced foods. With strong support from the Secretary of Agriculture, Karen Ross, the Office continues partnerships with CDE and CDPH to increase interagency communication and collaboration.
In the coming months the Office looks forward to hearing from farm to school stakeholders in California and sharing new resources and tools to further advance the movement. Together, we will support the development of new information and resources, grow awareness of the movement and its benefits, and provide vision for the growth and evolution of the farm to school and ECE movement.