Special Edition: Who’s One in a Melon?

united stated department of agriculture logo

Volume 2, Issue 16, May 24, 2016

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
One in a Melon badge

Who’s 'One in a Melon' in your state?

The call went out and school officials, parents, teachers, community stakeholders and even a few students responded. Thousands of votes were cast for exemplary farm to school programs all across the U.S. The stories we received were heartwarming, inspiring, motivating and some even brought a few tears to our eyes. Here are a few of our favorite One in a Melon submissions:

Tempe School District in Arizona
Tempe Elementary is amazing! They try to buy locally and would purchase even more if possible. Nutritional Services supports gardening in their school district and started a garden consortium to bring together staff and volunteers from all the schools who have gardens to support each other and share ideas. The district now has gardens in at least nine schools.

Montague Area Public Schools in Michigan
Montague supports farm to school in so many ways from the fresh amazing salad bar every day to the many fruits and veggies offered! We support our local farmers and our fabulous FAA program that provides us with eggs and fresh produce as well!! Montague pride!

Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia
We have ‘farmer trading cards’ from local farms that give information on the farms, crops and the farmers that provide local produce. School parents are excited to be able to volunteer in the school garden.

For us, one thing is clear— schools are finding innovative ways to use more local foods in school meals and conduct agriculture-, food- and nutrition-based education activities to teach children where their food comes from. Which One in a Melon story is your favorite? Click here and navigate to any state or territory to see which school district won USDA’s first ever One in a Melon award.

Local foods in summer meals

The Farm to School Census Updated with NEW Data!

In March, USDA began releasing final results of the 2015 Farm to School Census showing school districts purchased nearly $800 million in local foods during the 2013-2014 school year. Now, we’ve released even more data showing that schools are increasingly using local foods in summer meal programs and increasingly doing farm to school activities with preschool children. Final Census results indicate that during the 2013-2014 school year, 1,516 districts incorporated local foods into preschool programs and 1,039 school districts included local foods in summer meal programs. More information about these new results can be found on the farm to preschool and farm to summer pages, while state results can be found here. Summer is right around the corner and the perfect time to start bringing the farm to school.

HUSSC Census badge

Hungry for more?

In June, USDA plans on releasing the raw data set from the 2015 Farm to School Census. At that time, we’ll also update district pages to signify which schools are winners of USDA’s Healthier U.S. School Challenge. Later this summer, USDA will also release a new Census data explorer tool, similar to what was developed for the 2013 Farm to School Census, to help users analyze the 2015 data. Stay tuned for more info!

Girl in garden

Schools across America Honored for Their “One in a Melon” Farm to School Programs

Janna Raudenbush, Public Affairs Specialist, Food and Nutrition Service

Back in March, we invited you to vote for the school district with your favorite farm to school program – one with exemplary initiatives, inspiring results; one that you think is ‘one in a melon’!

Well, the results were tabulated and one district in each state has just received the “One in a Melon” award.  These districts received the most votes from parents, teachers, community stakeholders, students, and others who recognized the incredible work they’re doing through their farm to school programs. We were so inspired by the nominations we received that we wanted to share a few quotes of them with you, but for a full list of award winners, visit https://farmtoschoolcensus.fns.usda.gov/find-your-school-district.