2015 Farm to School Census: Early Results are In!

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Volume 1, Issue 2, October 20, 2015

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
Kids eating local lunch

Early Results from USDA's Farm to School Census are In!

What can $598 million buy you these days? A LOT of local food! 

Today, USDA is pleased to announce that early results from USDA’s second Farm to School Census are in, and preliminary data indicate that school districts across the country invested more than half a billion dollars in local foods in the 2013-2014 school year. That represents an increase of $212 million (or 55%) over final results from the last Census, conducted two years ago. Preliminary numbers also show that thanks to the hard work and dedication of school food service directors, teachers, farmers, fishermen and ranchers, more than 42,000 schools are involved in farm to school activities. Whether through buying local foods, building school gardens, or taking a field trip to a local farm, these programs improve child nutrition and provide dynamic educational experiences for students, all the while providing new market opportunities for local and regional farmers.

USDA is accepting submissions of new data and encouraging districts to correct existing records as necessary through November 20, 2015. Just follow the three easy steps outlined on the site to find your district, check your record, and either update your data or make a new entry. After the submission period has closed, we will re-tabulate the numbers and begin releasing final results in early 2016.

To help us spread the word about the Census please consider:

  • Using social media to promote the Census. You can click on the Facebook or Twitter icons while viewing any page of the Census website and immediately share results with your networks.
  • Including information about the Census in upcoming newsletters or other communications, or during speeches, workshops, or presentations you might be involved in.
  • Executing any other creative outreach strategy you can think of!

A Printer-Friendly Version of Our Local Procurement Guide to Save Your Ink!

Do you long for the days of hard copies and margins filled with detailed notes? We now have a printer-friendly version of our Finding, Buying, and Procuring Local Foods guide just for you! This black and white version provides the same content as the full-color guide.

Webinar Reminder: Farm to School at USDA: Looking Back and Looking Forward 

Join Deborah Kane, Director of FNS’s Office of Community Food Systems, for a review of the USDA Farm to School Program’s accomplishments and discussion of what lies ahead as the Farm to School Program settles into its new home in the Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems. Topics will include a review of new farm to school resources, preliminary results and plans for the second USDA Farm to School Census, and new areas of emphasis, including farm to summer and farm to preschool.

No registration required. To join on Thursday, October 29 at 2:00 pm EDT:

1.     Visit http://bit.ly/1GgqmX1

2.     Dial 800-988-0278 and use participant passcode 1271320 for audio

This webinar will be recorded and made publicly available via our Videos and Webinars page.

Imperfect Citrus

Webinar: Beyond Beauty: The Opportunities and Challenges of Cosmetically Imperfect Produce

The National Good Food Network brings you this webinar to explore the market of produce that is a little imperfect. Join JoAnne Berkenkamp at Tomorrow’s Table and The Real Food Challenge for sometimes surprising insights through a deep dive into this topic. Everything from the “why” of produce imperfections to the utilization and marketing of such products will be covered.

Registration is required to join this webinar on Thursday, October 22 at 3:30 EDT.