Written by: Nicole Sturzenberger, CDFA, Office of Farm to Fork
The California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Farm to Fork is excited to begin the transition of the California Farm to School Network to our office. As the new Network lead, we look forward to strengthening the already robust movement built by CAFF and all farm to school stakeholders throughout California. During and after this transition, we will continue partnerships with CAFF, leading procurement efforts, UEPI, leading early childhood education work, and Lifelab, leading school garden efforts. The Office was also selected as the 2017-2019 National Farm to School Network California Core Partner and looks forward to communicating national farm to school efforts. These new roles recognize the Office’s leadership in the farm to school efforts and will provide new opportunities for us to continue building capacity and support for farm to school and early childhood education (ECE) activities in California. Continue reading
Written By: Allie Hoffman, Program Manager, Community Alliance with Family Farmers
Three weeks ago, 340 California Farm to School and Garden practitioners gathered in Modesto for three days of field trips, workshops, inspiring keynotes, networking and food.
Helen Dombalis sharing her Farm to School story during the opening keynote
Attendees represented all areas of farm to school, ranging from farmers, to food service professionals, garden educators, government employees, nonprofits and more. It’s hard to focus on any one single moment from the conference to highlight in this article, particularly because there were so many different workshops that one could have attended. So instead, I’m going to share a few of the highlights from my experience planning and attending the conference.
Leading up to the conference, I was fortunate enough to have the job of connecting with so many of you. Whether I was reviewing workshop proposals, connecting with partners on social media or coordinating with the amazing CFSN regional leads, it was such a pleasure to get to connect with farm to school innovators from all around the state. Continue reading
Calling all school foodservice directors and staff, educators, state agencies, organizations, and advocates:
Save the date for the 2nd biannual California Farm to School Conference!
Please note – applications are now closed. Thanks to everyone who turned in applications!
School districts throughout California are taking advantage of a new program to purchase fruits and vegetables from a variety of local vendors using USDA Foods entitlement funding.
Why sign up?
The UFVPP gives school districts the opportunity to purchase locally and domestically grown produce from a variety of competitive local vendors. By supporting the program during this Pilot phase, California school districts are participating with seven other states to determine whether the Pilot will be renewed in 2019.
With support of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers will be working with Food Service Directors, UFVPP vendors and California family farms to utilize the Pilot program.
How does it work?
School food authorities (SFAs) submit the following brief application to allocate a portion of their USDA Foods entitlement funding to use with approved local vendors. The Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) is available to help Food Service Directors find the approved vendors that best fit their needs and navigate bid processes to meet USDA procurement guidelines. If vendors aren’t available or able to be established in some areas of California, SFAs will be able to have the money reallocated in early fall.
CAFF will also be working with SFAs to support California family farms, providing cafeteria educational signage and tracking impact on growers for districts using the Pilot program.
Applications only take a few minutes and are being accepted through February 17th. Sign up now to support local and American growers using USDA foods entitlement funding.
Please contact Ben Thomas to learn more about connecting with local vendors and resources through CAFF (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The full announcement from CDE is as follows:
If you are attending the CA School Nutrition Association Conference in Anaheim on November 10-13, we want to make sure you know about a lunch drop-in time and workshop that CAFF is organizing on Sat, Nov 12.
Join Ben Thomas for lunch at the conference venue. Do you have any questions or feedback on local purchasing, education, Purchasing Collaboratives, direct opportunities or bid support?Contact Ben
for an exact location.
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm –
Come to CAFF’s workshop, The CA Farm to School Network: Strategies for Farm to Cafeteria Success!
Here is a brief description about the session: Come to this participatory session and learn about initiatives and resources available through the CA Farm to School Network. New to Farm to School? See what others have done to increase local purchasing, market local food, and link nutrition education to create successful programs. Are you as seasoned Farm to School district? Come share your successes with others. Join the team from the Community Alliance with Family Farmers to discuss best practices in working with distributors, micro- and informal direct purchases, and the language you need to include local produce in your next contract Request for Proposals (RFPs). One participant will go home with free conference pass to the 2017 CA Farm to School Conference!
Kicking off National Farm to School Month with a bang, we were so excited to announce the winners of the Golden Seed Awards in our newsletter earlier this week! The awards highlight farm to school efforts throughout California.
A student at Manteca Unified shows off their harvest
With a number of competitive applicants, we honored winners across 11 regions and three award categories, including Sow, Grow and Harvest. In addition, nearly 20 schools and districts were recognized with honorable mentions.
The Golden Seed Awards were created to recognize farm to school champions and foster recognition of California schools and districts that are beginning to grow their farm to school programs. Applicants were evaluated on their unique and innovative programs as well as their contributions to the three pillars of farm to school: procurement, education and gardens.