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.
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.
What is it?
For the past eight years, the California Farm to School Taskforce has been providing coordination and leadership around Farm to School programming through workshops, information sharing, policy advocacy, and networking. Last summer, the Taskforce came together and decided to broaden their work, and transition to a California Farm to School Network (CFSN) that is open to everyone in the state of California who is working on Farm to School programs and projects.
The California Farm to School Network is your “one-stop shop” for everything related to Farm to School in the state of California. As a communications hub and a convener across many organizations and regions in the state, the CFSN will align Farm to School efforts, share resources, and bring farmers, schools, distributors, and practitioners together, continuing California’s leadership in linking family farms to K-12 schools.