June 2012: News from the National Farm to School Network!


Don't miss the bus: The conference early bird rate ends June 15! 
Chicken bus 

There are only a few days left to register for the 6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Digging In! at the early bird rate of $290. The early bird deadline has been extended to June 15, but field trips and short courses are filling up fast, so don't delay! Several lodging options are available including hotel blocks and university dorm rooms - make your reservation now if you want to secure your first choice.  


Whether you are new to the movement or have years of wisdom to share, the 6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Digging In! is a great opportunity to network, build skills and get energized. The conference focuses on all aspects of Farm to Cafeteria work and seeks to engage a diverse group of stakeholders including food service professionals, farmers, educators, policy makers, representatives from government agencies and nonprofits, entrepreneurs and students.


We are collecting photos of Farm to Cafeteria projects from across the country to help tell the story of the movement -- YOUR story -- at the conference. The pictures will be used in a slideshow during the conference. If you have photos to share, please send them to photos@farmtoschool.org along with your name and the location where the photo was taken. 


This conference takes place every-other year, so reserve your space, spread the word, and prepare to Dig In to all things Farm to Cafeteria August 2-5 in Burlington, Vermont.




Complete a Farm to Preschool survey for a chance to win $500
Are you affiliated with a preschool, childcare or early care program that
works to incorporate local food into meals and snacks or that educates
children about where food comes from and how it is grown?

The National Farm to School Network recently formed a Farm to Preschool Subcommittee to support these activities. As part of this effort, the subcommittee developed a survey to better understand the scope of Farm to Preschool activities already happening across the country and provide a baseline from which to grow. Tell us what is happening in your neck of the woods by completing the Farm to Preschool survey. To learn more and take the survey, go to:  




One survey respondent will be randomly selected to win $500 towards his or her Farm to Preschool efforts! Surveys must be completed by midnight on June 30.


Please share this email and survey link with your networks so that we can capture information about as many programs as possible. If you have any questions about the survey please contact:
Katy Pelissier

Farm to School Assistant, Ecotrust







Farm Bill expected to go to Senate floor for a vote this week 

Later this week, debate will begin on the Senate's Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240). The total bill achieves a little over $23.5 billion in savings over a 10-year period.


The Senate Farm Bill increases funding for many programs that support community food security by improving healthy food access and building infrastructure for local and regional food systems including:

  • Community Food Projects Program: Doubling mandatory funding to $10 million per year
  • Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program: Expanding Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to include developing food hubs and doubling funding to $20 million in mandatory funding per year for five years

Important amendments will be offered to fix some of the weaknesses:

  • Farmers and Ranchers Program (Section 2501) and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)
  • Support funding for rural development programs that build local food system infrastructure
  • Support for Farm to School initiatives.

Questions? Please contact the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) policy office: 202-481-6933. 

Spotlight on: Oklahoma    
In Oklahoma, only 16 percent of students eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but the Oklahoma Farm to School Program is making great strides to improve those statistics. Over 100 school districts (roughly 20 percent) now participate in the program, serving seasonal produce such as cantaloupe, watermelon and asparagus. 
In April, the Oklahoma Farm to School Program offered knife skills training to foodservice staff at all participating Oklahoma schools. Directors left the workshop with the skills and confidence to handle fresh produce and create new recipes for their students. In May, the program launched Kidchen Expedition, a packet of educational materials that promote healthful eating, emphasizing simple and creative ways to utilize Oklahoma-grown produce. The packet includes a series of five, 22-minute videos to use in the classroom to educate students in grades 2 through 5 and a cookbook for school kitchens that features low-sugar, low-sodium and low-fat recipes to make the most of fresh-grown Oklahoma produce. 
Way to go, Oklahoma!
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.   


In This Issue
Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Farm to Pre-K Survey
Farm Bill Update
Spotlight: Oklahoma
Upcoming Events
In the News
Will you donate today to help us expand our reach? Your contribution will help us increase access to local, healthy foods and education opportunities that connect children to healthy, locally grown foods 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.
School Food 101 
June 12, 12 CDT

School food can be a complex web to navigate. What are the many channels through which schools source food? How do schools/districts fund their school food programs? What are the many federal programs that support child nutrition in schools?  What regulations guide quality school meal programs across the country?  Join us for this informative webinar to learn the ins and outs of school food. Presented in partnership with School Food FOCUS.


Making the most of farm to school month
July 10, 12 CDT
Ideas and resources for celebrating National Farm to School Month in October.  



Upcoming Events
A workshop for teachers and administrators about implementing the working school farm into the community lunch vision. Participants will spend the morning with biodynamic and French intensive gardening lessons, then they will become Montessori children and get "lessons" on tending, harvesting and preparing the community lunch for the classroom.
More Information...

Representatives from all sectors of Farm to Cafeteria will convene in beautiful Burlington, Vermont 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.

More Information...


In the News
Growing green awards honor DC Farm to school network founder 
A few years ago, Andrea Northup -- the winner of the Young Food Leader Award -- was a recent college graduate wondering how to translate her concern about failing school lunch programs into action. Still in her twenties, she is the architect of model healthy lunch legislation adopted in the District of Columbia and is the founding leader of D.C. Farm to School Network.


9-year-old food blogger takes on school lunch
Since her first post on May 8, Martha's blog has garnered more than one million page views and attracted followers including international media outlets and advocates for healthy school lunch.  

Read on...

Summer volunteers tend school gardens

Many Addison County schools have gardens that supply food to their lunch programs and teach students about agriculture during the academic year. However, over the summer vacation, when these gardens need the most care, students are at home. Three local schools have figured out how to address this issue, with solutions ranging from committees to parent involvement to partnering with youth day camps.

Read on...



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