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
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!
With the goal of bringing practical information to improve the lives of agricultural producers, consumers, families, and children, extension is a natural fit for partnership in farm to school and farm to early care and education (ECE) initiatives. Across the U.S., extension provides a vital link to resources and information and builds connections between producers and communities, expanding opportunities for local procurement, gardening, and food and agriculture education in schools and ECE settings. The National Institute for Food and Agriculture, in partnership with the National Farm to School Network, will be offering a webinar to share more about extension and farm to ECE partnerships and projects. Register here and join the webinar on March 14, at 11 AM PST.
For more information, contact Lacy Stephens (firstname.lastname@example.org), NFSN Farm to Early Care and Education Associate.
Serving local foods in meals, snacks, and taste tests is a core element of farm to early care and education and contributes to numerous benefits for kids, farmers, and communities. However, understanding where and how to purchase local foods as well as how to incorporate them into early care and education meal programs can be a challenge. In this informational webinar, speakers from the National Farm to School Network, US Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, and the Baxter Child Development Center will share tips for getting started, strategies for success, and innovative models that are advancing and scaling local purchasing practices in early care and education settings across the country. This webinar is open to all, so please share with your networks. Register here and contact Lacy Stephens (email@example.com), Farm to Early Care and Education Associate, with any questions.
Written by Rosa Romero, MEd – Farm to Preschool Director, Urban & Environmental Policy Institute
There is an exciting new Farm to Preschool Pilot underway in Los Angeles! Since 2009, the Farm to Preschool (F2P) Program at the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College (UEPI) has partnered with Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment Early Childhood Education (PACE ECE) to develop curriculum to promote healthy eating and an understanding of where food comes from. PACE ECE operates 14 fully licensed Head Start State Preschool child-care and development centers serving 1,110 children age three to five throughout Los Angeles. Over the past few years UEPI and PACE ECE developed a comprehensive model Wellness Policy for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity that incorporates mandated policies such as making drinking water available to students indoors and outdoors (Assembly Bill 2084), offering nutrition and health education classes for parents (Head Start Performance Standards: 1304.23d) as well as specific F2P components of incorporating local foods into meals and snacks, weekly nutrition lessons, taste tests, gardening, and connecting with regional farmers through field-trips to farms and farmers’ market and classroom visits by farmers. This model wellness policy has been used to train dozens of preschools in the Los Angeles area on how to create similar policies at their sites. Continue reading