Greetings in 2013!
Get inspired with exciting new Farm to School stories from around the state:
Farm to School Takes Root in the Sierra Foothills
Malaika Bishop, Live Healthy Nevada County
Marco, a 5th
grade CalFresh recipient, stops weekly at a produce stand at his school to stock up on items for his grandma to cook the only farm fresh produce they have all month. Jaime, in 6th
grade, hands a parent volunteer a coca cola from his lunch as his donation in exchange for a carrot. Meanwhile, a short curly haired boy asks for a raw beet and comes back face red with juice, gnawed stub in hand dragging a friend behind him.
These produce stands, now at eleven K-8th
grade Nevada County schools are part of a Farm to School effort led by Live Healthy Nevada County
, an organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and connecting families to fresh, local, seasonal foods. Our Farm to School program consists of farm field trips, school garden consultations and guest appearances from partner farmers, nutrition educators, and chefs. This month we’ll begin providing Harvest of the Month tastings of seasonal fruits and vegetables with curriculum to 150 classrooms; and for the first time ever, featuring local produce on the school menu.
By engaging Nevada County child nutrition directors and superintendents in eliminating processed foods and adding more local produce to the school meals, small successes like these are won every day. It’s just a start, but we look forward to creating healthy school food environments for Nevada County students!
A Big Victory for Oakland Schools
Lisa Bennett, Center for Ecoliteracy
Last November, an overwhelming 83.65 percent of Oakland voters supported Measure J, a $475 million local bond measure to improve the quality of Oakland schools and school facilities. Included in the measure are $40 million worth of improvements in kitchen and dining facilities recommended by Center for Ecoliteracy’s Rethinking School Lunch Oakland Feasibility Study
The Center for Ecoliteracy is working in partnership with the Oakland Unified School District to improve the quality of meals for its 38,000 students – 70 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. “Oakland Unified has demonstrated a clear readiness and strong leadership to build on past innovation toward comprehensive change,” says Zenobia Barlow, cofounder and executive director of the Center for Ecoliteracy.
Tony Smith, superintendent of Oakland Schools, has said; “To me, it’s not that somehow we will get to the food stuff after everything else. When you move a system, you have to move all of it. That is why school food reform is built into the context of our new strategic plan. It’s about the long-term health and well-being of our students, and it’s about building sustainable systems.”
For more information, visit the Center for Ecoliteracy.
Connecting Farm to School Online
Jana Nairn, AgLink
Ag Link’s online farm to school marketplace launched in August 2012 and is well on its way to becoming the leading “link” for farm to school in California. The fully automated e-commerce site features products for sale posted and maintained primarily by growers and producers, and is accessible to school food service buyers 24/7.
Farmers and producers like local, direct markets but sometimes struggle to find time to market and sell their products. Similarly, School Food Service buyers want to buy fresh, local products but don’t have the time or resources to communicate with multiple suppliers to gather data and make purchase decisions. The site transparently links the two together building new supply relationships and streamlining the lines of communication.
In just 5 months, Ag Link has helped get over 1 million pieces of California grown produce on to the plates of over 100,000 California school children. With free registration and a nominal transaction fee producers and school buyers alike are finding this new farm to school resource quite beneficial.
"Using Ag Link has saved our district money while improving the produce quality and selection that we are receiving," said Scott Soiseth, SFA, Turlock Unified School District and CDE Farm to School Ambassador, "It is a win-win for the kids and the local farmers, that we are proud to be a part of!"
No grower or school is too big or too small, all sizes of sellers and buyers are necessary for a successful farm to school
network. Ag Link doesn’t consider itself just another school food vendor; instead it’s a platform connecting cutting edge producers and schools. Sellers post and ship…buyers order, receive and serve – Ag Link handles the rest!
For more information visit
or contact us at 209-634-8448 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Farm Bill Extension Update
On December 31, the outgoing Senate passed a simple extension of the 2008 Farm Bill through September 30, 2013 as part of the larger legislative package to avoid the fiscal cliff. The House approved the Senate bill late on January 1 and President Obama signed it into law on January 2.
The extension preserves direct subsidy payments for commodity production, while eliminating funding for programs for new farmers, minority farmers, healthy food markets, rural job programs, renewable energy, specialty crop and organic farming. This legislation is effectively a step backward on the gains made by sustainable agriculture advocates during earlier Farm Bill negotiations. We need a Food a Farm Bill that is forward looking and prioritizes small and mid-scale farming and a sustainable food system. Stay tuned for advocacy opportunities in 2013.
Information about the Farm Bill extension can be found on NSAC's website
Centerpiece for a Healthy School Environment:
Winter-Spring 2013 Trainings
This winter and spring six free trainings will be offered across the state focused on k-12 school food service directors & staff as well as school garden educators. Trainings will take place for 1.5 days weaving in hands-on experiential activities, farm to school and garden innovation demos, and interactive conversations and presentations to improve your skill set in building a stronger network for improving your school environment.
For dates and locations click here For questions or inquiries please contact Tim Galarneau, email@example.com or 831-359-8861