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).
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!
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.
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.