Have you Heard? Introducing the First CFSN Farm to School Contest!

Here, at the California Farm to School Network, we are so excited to announce the first California Golden Seed Awards! Over the past two years, we have been increasingly impressed and inspired by the growing interest and implementation of Farm to School programs around the state. From student learning that they love lettuce after a taste test, to the $167,644,000 CA school districts spent on local produce, as reported in the USDA Farm to School Census, each impact is significant.

The Golden Seed Awards are meant not only to recognize Farm to School champions, but also to foster recognition of schools or districts that are just starting to grow their Farm to School programs. Whether you started your first school garden this year or have an established a student run-farm – we want to hear from you! Applicants will be evaluated by their contributions to the three pillars of Farm to School – procurement, education, and school gardens. With three different awards categories, anyone can win!golden seed final

Sow, Grow and Harvest awards will be granted to applicants participating in at least one, two or three of the pillars (respectively). Awards will be chosen by a committee established by CFSN and will be announced in mid-August. Prizes include passes to the 2017 California Farm to School Conference, passes to pre-conference field trips, technical assistance for beginning programs and lots of media attention!

Above all, your application helps CFSN keep a pulse on Farm to School around the state, identifying our strengths and opportunities to grow. We know that Farm to School efforts aren’t always acknowledged in the fast-paced world of education, so we thank you. We are excited to hear from you and honor the great work happening all around the state.

To apply, please visit www.cafarmtoschool.org/about/goldenseed.

For any questions, please contact farmtoschool@caff.org.

This project is supported by Whole Foods Market Northern California and Reno as well as  the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. 

Farmer to School Mixer a Hit in the South Central Coast

Written by: Luisa Accorsi, FoodCorps Service Member with Conejo Valley Unified School District

IMG_0597Getting connected is a big goal for the participants of the South Central Coast Regional of the CA Farm to School Network. This particular network includes Conejo Valley, Ventura, Rio, Oxnard, Hueneme, and Ojai. Last month we threw a mixer with the intention of bringing together our food service directors, farmers, and garden and nutrition educators so that we could get to know one another better and show each other what we’re doing at our sites. Continue reading

How to Turn Leftover Kale into a Celebrated Vegetable

Written by: Aislíng Mitchell, FoodCorps Service Member with Oakland Unified School District

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 4.07.35 PMI’ve always loved working with school gardens to grow healthy, happy kids. But I want to make sure our hard work continues outside of our garden walls. My new strategy started when I discovered our school’s farmers market always had leftover kale. I questioned our local parents and discovered that the parents in our community did not believe their kids would eat this dark green leaf. Continue reading

Say No to Takis! Fifth Graders Work to Make Their School a Healthier Place

Written by: Elizabeth Esparza, FoodCorps Service Member with Pittsburg Unified School District 

758052fd-4844-466e-8f85-afde37fc732e

Fifth graders at Willow Cove Elementary in Pittsburg, CA make an alternative snack to Takis. The secret recipe, you ask? It’s just lime, cayenne, and freshly cut jicama.

Fifth graders at Willow Cove Elementary in Pittsburg are on a mission to make their school Takis free. Takis are a popular spicy rolled tortilla chip snack, similar to Hot Cheetos in spice and unhealthiness. For a project in class, students began to do some research on the unhealthy and potentially harmful ingredients present in the snack and found that they just could not keep the knowledge to themselves. Continue reading

California Thursdays: Collective Action Day

Written by: Sandy Curwood, RDN, MS, Director of Child Nutrition Services with Conejo Valley Unified School District 

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 4.43.37 PM

Director of Child Nutrition Services, Sandy Curwood, serves up a California Thursdays® recipe at the CA Farm to School Network Conference last spring.

California Thursdays® is what’s for lunch in school cafeterias across the golden state. On March 17th, 58 California school districts collectively took action showcasing the abundance of seasonal, regionally procured, delicious and nutritious foods in school cafeterias.  Continue reading

Farm to School? More like Farm AT School!

Written by: Lucas Hill, FoodCorps Service Member with UCCE Central Sierra

unnamed-2When I first stepped onto the 2 acre parcel that would become the focus of my service, way back in September, it was overflowing with tomatoes, squash, eggplant, and cucumbers. This was the abundant harvest of the previous summer, the first growing season at the Calaveras High School Farm. But, almost immediately after I stepped into my new role as school farm coordinator, the weather turned and suddenly I was fighting to keep meager lettuce and kale alive through biting frosts and short, cloudy days. Trying to run a farm or garden at a school means following the academic calendar. So, how do you build a farm program against the inevitable seasonal misfit? While I can only speak from my own experience, I think others might find some nuggets of useful information from what we have been working on for the past several months at Calaveras High School.   Continue reading