February 2012: News from the National Farm to School Network!
6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Digging In!

Join us August 2-5, 2012 in beautiful Burlington, Vermont,  for the 6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Digging In!  Whether you're new to the movement or have years of wisdom to share, this a great opportunity to network, build skills and get energized!


Farm to Cafeteria began with the common goal of building strong communities, healthy individuals and resilient local farms. Across the country great progress has been made connecting farm-fresh foods with K-12 schools, pre-schools, childcare settings, colleges, universities, hospitals, prisons and beyond - now we are Digging In!


The conference will bring together food service professionals, farmers, educators, policy makers, representatives from government agencies and nonprofits, entrepreneurs, students and others who are breaking down barriers and expanding the impact of Farm to Cafeteria. There will be skill-building short-courses, field trips to innovative Vermont farms and institutions, a diverse workshop program, and plenty of opportunities to network with inspiring individuals from across the country.  


Save the date and check back soon to register and view the conference schedule and other details. We are now

accepting workshop and poster proposals.
News from USDA


On January 25 First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack  unveiled new standards for school meals. The changes are the result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, passed by Congress in December 2010, which resulted in improved standards for the first time in 15 years.

Some of the highlights include:
  • Ensuring students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week;
  • Substantially increasing offerings of whole grain-rich foods;
  • Offering only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties;
  • Limiting calories based on the age of children being served to ensure proper portion size; and
  • Increasing the focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.

The Food Trust produced this helpful summary document comparing the new standards with both the proposed rule and the previous standard.  


UDSA also announced that Deborah Kane, formerly vice president of Food and Farms at Portland-based Ecotrust, is the new national director of USDA's Farm to School Program. Ecotrust is one of NFSN's Regional Lead Agencies, and Kane is a long-time champion of Farm to School. We look forward to working with her in her new position. 


Seeking Passionate Leaders: FoodCorps Applications Due


Spread the word: FoodCorps is currently accepting FoodCorps logoapplications for their 2012-2013 service year! FoodCorps

places motivated  leaders in limited-resource communities for a year of public service related to Farm to School. Service members work in school gardens, teach nutrition lessons, and work to bring high-quality local food into public school cafeterias.


Besides a wealth of experience, service members receive a $15,000 living allowance, a $5,550 AmeriCorps Segal Education Award, health insurance and other benefits.    


Applications to join this diverse group of highly-motivated local food leaders are due March 25, so don't delay!
Free MyFarm Memberships


The National Trust's MyFarm project is offering free memberships to schools in the US. Joining MyFarm gives you a say in running a real, working farm on the National Trust's Wimpole Estate near Cambridge, England. MyFarm membership entitles you to vote on key decisions affecting the farm's future: which crops to sow; which animals to keep; and much more. Through regular blogs, videos, web-chats, photos and discussion forums MyFarm will help your school learn more about where food comes from. The MyFarm website has teacher tools with lesson plans, whiteboard tools and more. Simply email MyFarm with your name and your school's name and address and they will email you a gift code to join MyFarm for free.
In This Issue
Farm to Cafeteria Conference
FoodCorps Applications
MyFarm Memberships
Recent Press
Will you donate today to help us expand our reach? Your contribution will help us increase access to local, healthy foods and garden-based education in our schools. Together we are creating Farm to School programs that are an essential component of strong and just local and regional food systems, and we are ensuring the health of school children, farms, communities, the environment and the economy.
GAP and Food Safety Planning: One farm's story
February 14, 12 CST
Food safety starts on the farm. Complying with local regulations and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is usually worth the time and money for farmers who want to work with schools and other large buyers, but it can seem daunting. In this webinar Susan Bergen of Peach Crest Farm in Oklahoma will tell her Farm to School story and talk about how she worked with Oklahoma State University to make her operation GAP compliant. This webinar will appeal most to farmers who are new to GAP or Farm to School and nutrition directors with questions about Farm to School and food safety.

For a sneak peek of Peach Crest Farms' story, check out  this recent video by SUNUP.



Make Local Food Sourcing a Snap with FoodHub
March 13, 12 CST
Come explore FoodHub - A FREE virtual networking tool that makes it easy for schools to find farmers and food producers throughout a 6-state region including Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Montana and Alaska. Join us as we take a step-by-step look at how FoodHub has helped schools find farmers in their area with simple search tools, comprehensive profiles and a dynamic marketplace.


In the News
Five School Programs Feeding America's Children
Nourishing the Planet highlights five initiatives helping to teach children about nutrition across the country.



Lost L.A.: School gardens, an idea planted a century ago
In 1910, L.A. turned a vacant lot into a vibrant school garden. 



Transforming the rural landscape
Tips on following your passion and changing the world for the better from Debra Eschmeyer, founder of FoodCorps. 



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