Make plans to attend the 6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference


The 6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Digging In! is just four months away! Representatives from all sectors of Farm to Cafeteria will convene in beautiful Burlington, Vermont August 2-5 for four days of education, conversations and fun. 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.


There's no better place to be in August than Burlington, which sits on the shores of Lake Champlain, just half an hour from the Green Mountains. Burlington is a family-friendly city with bike paths, public beaches, a science museum and a pedestrian-friendly downtown hub.


Registration opens May 7th, but you can use the website to plan ahead by checking out the schedule, booking your lodging and learning more about the area. If you would like to receive updates about the conference, join the Facebook event or sign up for the National Farm to School Network's email newsletter.


This conference only takes place every two years, so save the date, spread the word, and join us August 2-5 as we Dig In to all things Farm to Cafeteria!  



Surveys, documentary highlight Minnesota Farm to School
MN Farm to School
Students from Dover-Eyota School District in Minnesota.
There's lots of good news out of Minnesota this month. According to a pair of surveys release in March by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and the Minnesota School Nutrition Association, more than 68 percent of the state's K-12 student population - over 558,000 students - are now engaged in Farm to School. The surveys gathered feedback from school food service leaders and local farmers, and serve as a snapshot of Farm to School from both perspectives. Participation in Farm to School has risen from fewer than 20 districts in 2006 to 145 in 2011. IATP estimates that $1.3 million of Farm to School foods were purchased by Minnesota school districts last year alone.

"The numbers speak for themselves," says IATP's Local Foods Program Director, JoAnne Berkenkamp. "As they continue to grow, so do Farm to School's benefits: more students eating fresh, healthy foods, more farmers selling to nearby schools, and more of our food dollar circulating in the local economy."

March also saw the release of a new documentary, Farm to School: Growing Our Future, which was produced by University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Department of Health, and Twin Cities Public Television, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Watch the entire 30-minute film or a 12-minute version online. 

New Farm to Preschool website
Make space in your bookmarks toolbar for a new resource: www.farmtopreschool.org is live! The website is a collaboration between the Farm to Preschool program at the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College and the Farm to Preschool Subcommittee of the National Farm to School Network. You can learn about the work of the National Farm to School Network's Farm to Preschool Subcommittee here. Farm to Preschool is a natural expansion of the national Farm to School model and encompasses a wide range of programs and activities. Farm to Preschool serves the full spectrum of child care delivery: preschools, Head Start, center-based, programs in K-12 school districts, nurseries and family home care facilities.




Spotlight: Haddonfield, NJ
NJ Farm to School
Volunteers help with a salad bar at Elizabeth Haddon School.
Dana Gollotto, the Food Service Director at Haddonfield School District, wrote to us last month to share a little about what's going on in her corner of New Jersey.  Haddonfield has five schools, all of them involved in Farm to School. Here are a few highlights from their program, in Dana's own words:
  • Last year we had a fully operational school garden in one elementary school, and this year we are breaking ground on gardens at two other schools.  
  • We offer salad bars where the students eat food right out of their garden; it is amazing to see their faces with such pride and enjoyment.We also do tastings with the children to encourage intake of new fruits and vegetables. A few of the interesting items we've tasted this year include mashed sweet potatoes; eggplant sticks; and raw, purple cauliflower.
  • Early in the fall, we invited Farmer John from Ambrogi Produce to speak to all of our elementary school children about Farm to School and what exactly that means to them. He did a wonderful presentation, and they even tasted fresh apples just picked from a local farm!
  • We partner with many parents and businesses in our community to raise awareness about healthful eating. For example, one of our elementary schools had a "Walk to School Day" fundraiser where the students received a bicycle powered fruit smoothie that we made out of fresh fruit and yogurt!   

What's going on in your neck of the woods? Send us an email at info@farmtoschool.org. and tell us about your Farm to School Program.  



April 2012:
News from the National Farm to School Network!
In This Issue
Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Good News from MN
Spotlight on NJ
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.

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
National Children and youth garden symposium
July 19-21
Celebrating 20 years of garden-based teaching and leaning, this event will feature more than 70 lectures and workshops as well as field studies and other special events.
Community gardening on the cutting edge
August 9-12

The American Community Gardening Association's 33rd annual conference will feature one of the largest nationwide gatherings of individuals directly engaged in community-based gardening. The San Francisco conference will include research presentations, keynote speakers, and tours to community gardens, urban agriculture projects, and other environmental and food system initiatives.
  More Information...



In the News
For schoolyard gardens, a global network
The Edible Schoolyard Project is making its program resources and best practices public via a new website.


School honors poster winner
A smiling Caroline Roeder was surprised that her crayon drawing could be worth $1,000, but the Greenfield Elementary School fifth-grade student's artwork was awarded the top prize in the National Farm to School Month poster contest last December. 


Farmers form co-op, overcome regulations to sell to schools
Farmers at four Island farms are planting a few more rows of radishes, leeks, carrots and greens than usual this spring, now that a farm-to-school program is poised to come to fruition. 


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