And the WINNER of the School Lunch Photo Contest is…

We absolutely loved all of the amazing submissions you sent us for our School Lunch Photo Contest! We received so many beautiful photos, each one with a note about what made the meal special, and how it represented the great Farm to School work being done at each school.

It was so hard to pick just one to win the contest–see for yourself as you click through this album below:

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FoodCorps and Farm to School: Ally Lemmer in the Central Coast

Our guest blogger today is Ally Lemmer, a FoodCorps Service Member who serves with both Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and Life Lab in the Central Coast region. Read on to hear about Ally’s work with the Harvest of the Month program and how FoodCorps plays a role in boosting that program’s impact in the South Bay and Central Coast! To learn more about FoodCorps in California, visit our page on the FoodCorps website.

Depending on your region and school district, farm to school programs often take many different faces. From sourcing local produce from a nearby farm or harvesting some carrots and beets in your own school garden, there are endless of ways of how a farm to school program can be implemented in your own school district or community. For my service, the role I play in building up farm to school is through Harvest of the Month programming (HOTM).

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It’s that time of year! Navigating USDA Farm to School Grants

If you haven’t yet marked your calendar, USDA is accepting applications for their annual Farm to School Grant program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015!

Final applications are due at 9pm Pacific on April 30th, 2014, which makes March and April a busy time for Farm to School advocates. Many of you are seeking information and insight about how to obtain one of these highly valuable and extremely competitive grants. Read below for tips on how to fully take advantage of this opportunity!

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School food around the world: in photos!

When’s the last time the topic of school food made it onto popular social-sharing website Buzzfeed?

We’re not sure, but the site’s recent post featuring photos of school lunches from twenty different countries provides those of us working in school food some interesting comparisons. From other industrialized countries to Third World nations, the photos allow us a glimpse into how other nations feed their youth at lunchtime.

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What’s On Your Tray? School Lunch Photo Contest!

Does your school cafeteria practice scratch cooking? Does a local farmer provide the freshest broccoli to your students? Do fresh greens from the school garden end up in a healthy lunch salad? The California Farm to School Network is holding a contest to celebrate the school lunch trays throughout the state that feature the great ways that California is leading the way in providing good food to students from preschool through high school.

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Mother Lode region strikes Farm to School gold

When it comes to really improving the lives of children in cafeterias and classrooms alike, Kevin and Autumn Hesser are emerging superstars up in Calaveras County and the surrounding Mother Lode region of the California Farm to School Network. (For a view of the Mother Lode and the rest of our current regions and regional leads, see this map!)

The Hessers, along with UC Master Gardener Odile Morrison, are the heart and soul of Gardens to Grow In, a newly-minted non-profit organization that began under the umbrella of Calaveras Unified School District Educational Foundation. Gardens to Grow In has acted as an incredibly strong community builder through its work to help school gardens get up and running, provide engaging nutrition and cooking education to youth, and support a number of other projects to enhance school food environments, such as on-campus farmers markets and sending families home with tools and skills to grow more food at home.

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