March 2012: News from the National Farm to School Network!
Support the 2012 Conference






Planning is well underway for the 6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Digging InAugust 2-5, 2012 in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. Registration will open May 7 with an early bird registration rate of $290. We'd like to work with you to make this our best conference ever!      


You can support the conference in the following ways: 

  • Become a sponsor or recommend a sponsor
  • Support scholarships
  • Provide in-kind donations

 Visit the sponsorship page to learn more.


The conference will unite stakeholders from across the country and beyond 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. 


Fish to School Success in Sitka
Farm to School isn't just for landlubbers. The Sitka Conservation Society in Alaska is taking the movement out to sea with their Fish to Schools program, which launched last fall after winning two small grants and building key partnerships with local fishermen, processors and cafeteria managers. Three schools now participate in the Fish to Schools program with twice-monthly entrees featuring rockfish and salmon. As with most successful Farm to School programs, there's also an education component through which students have met local fishermen and learned about both traditional and commercial processes, not to mention conservation and cooking. The kids are hooked. Last month as many as 32 percent of students who ate school lunch  choose fish as their entree when it was offered, up from 20 percent in January. Besides boosting the economy and the profile of Alaska's native foods, the program provides an essential boost in nutrition by offering an item that some students wouldn't otherwise have access to. Way to go, Sitka!

USDA Unveils KYF Compass


On February 29, the USDA announced the launch of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, another tool in the agency's effort to strengthen local and regional food systems. The Compass is an interactive map that grants the public a bird's-eye view of the KYF initiative, color-coding projects that improve infrastructure, create local food jobs and facilitate farm to institution programs. The USDA says they hope the tool will help tell the KYF story and inspire new community projects.


Planning Your School Garden


March is a busy month for gardeners! If you are planning a school garden (or maintaining one) the California School Garden Network provides a host of helpful information, most of which applies in any geographic location. For example, they detail nine steps every school garden coordinator should keep in mind (and six of them happen before your spade hits the ground):
  • Seeking administrative approval
  • Creating a support network
  • Identifying goals and linking the garden to your curriculum
  • Designing the garden
  • Identifying supply needs and funding needs
  • Obtaining supplies and funds
  • Planting the garden
  • Maintaining the garden
  • Sustaining the garden


The California School Garden Network also offers links to curriculum resources and advice to help you make a case for your garden and keep it growing. Schoolgardenwizard.org offers a similar list of downloadable resources for every stage of garden development. For even more resources, visit kidsgardening.org and the Junior Master Gardener website.  

In This Issue
Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Fish to Schools
USDA Compass
Garden Planning
Upcoming Events
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 schools throughout the nation. 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.
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.


Built to last: Sustainable Farm to School programs
April 10, 12 CST
Getting a program off the ground is just the first hurdle. How can we build programs that are sustainable beyond their initial funding and aren't tied to the success of one or two passionate leaders? 
Register Here


Upcoming Events
Massachusetts Farm to School Convention
March 15
This full-day convention will feature leaders in the farm to school movement providing information on everything from creating school gardens to overcoming logistical barriers to local foods procurement to the growing partnerships between schools and community farms.
More Information...

"Farm to School: Growing Our Future" screening at National Public Health Week Film Festival
April 2
Farm to School partnerships have flourished across Minnesota. This film explores the advantages and remaining challenges for businesses, farms, schools and communities as they work together to improve our children's health and education. Free admission, food and beverages. Doors open at 5pm, documentary begins at 5:30pm.

More Information... 


In the News
Grow Dunwoody initiative is 100 percent student led
Our motivation was "to get students what they wanted based on our own desire for hands-on experience with things such as observing photosynthesis instead of just reading about it," says Dunwoody High School senior Danny Kanso.

Read on...  


Farm to School Network plays matchmaker for local food
According to Julia Govis, Illinois Farm to School State Lead, the networking process is a bit like matchmaking. They use a database, populated with information supplied by the parties, to try to fix up Farmer A with School B

Read on... 


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