CA Food for CA Kids: Farm to School Innovations webinar – now posted!

cartIn late January, we hosted a popular webinar that celebrated the innovations of three California school foodservice directors. These directors showed great leadership in enhancing their Farm to School programs through innovations in marketing. School foodservice directors navigate a complex web of challenges when it comes to getting food on the tray – and even more so when they try to bring in more fresh, healthy, and local foods. Smart marketing helps schools gain and sustain buy-in from students, staff, and the community by communicating the benefits and the appeal of Farm to School.

We’re pleased to announce that this webinar is now posted up on Vimeo, along with our previous webinar on Oakland Unified. Click here to view California Food for California Kids: Innovations from the Classroom to the Community, Part 1.

Farm to Preschool takes shape in South LA

F2P1aBonus: Farm to Preschool grant opportunity inside!

Today’s guest post is our first about the growing world of Farm to Preschool (F2P). While F2P is certainly under the umbrella of Farm to School, it’s important to tailor programming, curriculum, and meals and snacks to preschoolers in specific ways in order to get young children used to fresh foods and healthy food environments. Misty Spicer of Antioch University’s Urban Sustainability Program shares a story about introducing Los Angeles preschoolers to farmers markets. Read on to learn more!    

Fresh food got a little sweeter for preschoolers and their families this past summer, thanks to the Pacific Asian Consortium for Employment (PACE) and the Farm to Preschool program at Occidental College. A group of preschoolers chaperoned by parents and teachers left PACE’s Magnolia Place and Christian Fellowship preschool sites, located in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles, for and exciting adventure at Exposition Park before heading to the local farmers’ market.

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Earning a Spot in the Parking Lot: The story of a school produce market

Ceanna_VangelderThis FoodCorps Service Member and California native, Ceanna Vangelder, is bringing farm to school with Oakland Unified School District this year. Read on to learn about the district-wide fresh produce markets and how the district is procuring and distributing local produce into nearby schools… and parking lots.

Every Tuesday, an order of specially chosen fresh produce arrives at East Oakland PRIDE (EOP) Elementary School, and every Wednesday, with the help of my market volunteers, we make a colorful spread of fruits, vegetables, and nuts to sell in the parking lot in front of the school. It’s not quite that simple, of course, but after 11 market weeks, the positive impact of the often-challenging job is more apparent and the sales are up.

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Farm to School in Action in Yolo County

Yolo Marketplace2Today’s blogpost is another great one from Kristy Levings, Project Director with Harvest Hub Yolo (our Sacramento Valley regional lead!). Read on to learn about their recent Marketplace Exchange event, another example of the matching/”dating” model that’s so effective at bringing buyers and sellers of local food together. Here, it’s applied to Farm to School – Enjoy!

In our Farm to School world, we inevitably hear from school food service that they don’t know where to find farmers. While at the same time we also hear from farmers that they don’t know how to connect with School Food Service buyers. Oy Vey! What are we to do with two groups who seem to want to find each other but can’t?

To us, that sounds like the perfect setup – a setup for a “date!”

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The 8 Emotions of Cooking with Kindergarteners

Noah_DonnellKilmer-2This story was written by returning FoodCorps service member Noah Donnell-Kilmer, who serves with Garden School Foundation in Los Angeles. Read on to understand the roller coaster ride of teaching and the stories that make the chaos of teaching in school gardens and cooking for kids all worthwhile in this work.

Cooking with elementary schoolers is always an exercise in relinquishing control of children. Yes, you have a set recipe and a vision of how said recipe should look, with proper ratios of ingredients, well chopped pieces, and a beautiful appearance. However, this is not what cooking class is about. You are more of a guide in a cooking class.

You can show them all the knife skills and impress upon them the importance of knife safety. You can show the proper amounts of each ingredient to add and teach them all about the nutritional values of fruits and vegetables. Yet, at the end of the day, cooking classes, much like garden classes, are spaces for experimentation and discovery. In cooking class, new tastes are tried, knives are used for the first time, bicycle blenders spin, the seed to table cycle is completed, and kitchen vocabularies expand with new descriptive terms.

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