Celebrate National Farmers Market Week with Summer Meals

united stated department of agriculture logo

Volume 2, Issue 23, August 9, 2016

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
Mom and daugter at Greenfield, MA farmers market
Photo credit: Project Bread

Celebrating National Farmers Market Week with Summer Meals

This National Farmers Market week, we celebrate a growing national trend that exemplifies the power of partnership and the spirit of alignment around common goals. Across the country, sponsors of USDA’s Summer Meals Programs are joining forces with their local farmers markets. Here's how one site in Massachusetts is taking full advantage of all that farmers markets have to offer in the summer months.

With the help of partners MA Farm to School Project and Project Bread, Greenfield Public Schools added a brand new site this summer at the Saturday Greenfield Farmers Market. School Nutrition Director Madison Walker raved about their experience so far:

“The farmers market summer site has made sourcing local easier than ever as many of our neighborhood farmers and producers are all in the same place at once! We have made many new connections with producers who are interested in selling to schools and we have had their products on our Saturday menu, making sure to let our customers know the produce in their lunch came from the farmer just a few tents over.” 

Linking up with the popular Saturday market has also created lots of buzz and excitement over summer meals. ‘Kids Day’ saw nearly 100 children for lunch. Watermelon slices were a hit along with a puppet show and face painting as families enjoyed a beautiful day at the market. Keep up the great work, Greenfield!

What's your summer story?

Send us a photo or two and a description of your farm to summer program, and we’ll feature model programs through our E-letter to shine a national spotlight on your programming.

Kids eating summer meals in Macon, GA

Farm to School Census Logo

Upcoming Webinar about the Farm to School Census

Join USDA, along with co-host National Farm to School Network, for a webinar on Thursday, August 11 at 3:00 pm ET for an in-depth review of the Farm to School Census. Presenters will provide an overview of the Farm to School Census website including the recently posted raw data files and soon to be released data explorer tool. Presenters will also describe ways in which Census data can be used at the local, state, and national levels in support of farm to school.

2013 Farm to School Census Map

2013 Farm to School Census materials now available online

We’ve recently added materials from the 2013 Farm to School Census to the Census website including the raw data, survey questionnaire, and data visualizations summarizing results at the national and state levels. To access these materials click here, scroll to the bottom of the page, and look for “2013 Farm to School Census.”

Archive Dive!

Did you miss an edition of The Dirt? No need to fear, we've created in E-letter archive so you can explore past content. Here are some of our favorites:

The Dirt

Grantee Spotlight

Oxford School District is a former planning grantee and an FY2016 implementation grantee from Oxford, Mississippi. Oxford School District reflects on the work they did earlier this summer:

“We hosted two fun-filled sessions of Carrot Camp this summer reaching 100 students. Each day featured different activities including: gardening, nature walks, making healthy snacks, meeting farm animals, field trips, cooking demonstrations, reading, physical activity and lots of summer fun were all on the agenda. The campers enjoyed cooking demonstrations from a local thirteen year-old Chopped Junior competitor and a budding High School chef!  A local farmer brought some chickens to hang out with our campers and the University of Mississippi Office of Sustainability gave us a fun tour of their campus garden.“

Congratulations on the great work!

Chef hats at the Kids State Dinner

Students from Every State and Territory Show Off Local Pride with MyPlate-Inspired Meals at the 5th Annual Kids’ “State Dinner”

By Angie Tagtow, MS, RD, LD, Executive Director, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

At the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, we are excited about using local foods and flavors to create healthy and delicious plates. Through our MyPlate, MyState initiative, we are working to connect American families with the foods grown in their communities – raising awareness that all healthy foods and flavors have a place on MyPlate.  As part of that initiative it was my privilege to attend the 5th annual Kids’ “State Dinner” last month, when the winners of the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, were honored for their MyPlate-inspired recipes.  For the first time this year’s contest, in which young chefs ages 8-12 from across the country create healthy recipes and show off their food know-how, included an emphasis on local and regional foods through MyPlate, MyState.