Summer is Heating Up with the Summer Food Service Program

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Volume 3, Issue 15, June 6, 2017

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
Bus Ad for Summer Meals_Eco Literacy

California Food for California Kids: Promoting California Grown Fruits and Vegetables in Summer Meals

The Center for Ecoliteracy has created a multi-channel marketing campaign to increase the demand for California specialty crops in summer meals prepared by 25 school districts in Sacramento, Contra Costa, and San Diego counties. The campaign, which will run in public transit shelters and buses, features fresh California fruits and vegetables, including avocado, carrot, cucumber, grapes, melon, peaches, strawberry, and tomato. The goal is to reach parents whose children eat school meals during the school year and, in one click, provide them with the location of a convenient summer meals site, The ads emphasize that the meals are “no cost” and require “no paperwork.” A 30-second radio spot will air on Spanish language networks in Northern and Southern California. Additionally, the ads will run on Facebook and Yahoo. The Center for Ecoliteracy will also assist the school districts with marketing summer meals made with fresh California fruits and vegetables to parents directly, and with generating media coverage of the program and special summer meals kick-off events.

The Center for Ecoliteracy received funding for this project as part of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, in which the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has over $60 million in grant funds. The purpose of this grant is to increase the competitiveness of specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops.

Webinars and Funding Opportunities

School Garden Support Organization

Measuring Impact

Date: TODAY! June 6, 2017 @ 1:00pm PST

Hear how and why School Garden Support Organizations across the nation measure the impact of school garden programming. A wide range of assessment tools and strategies from different organizations will be shared.

Hosted by: Robyn Burns, Program Director, CitySprouts
With Meg Hiesinger, The Ecology Center; Suzannah Holsenbeck, Common Ground - High School, Urban Farm and Environmental Education Center; May Tsupros, Gardeneers

Register now!

Whole Kids Foundation

Garden to Cafeteria

This webinar by the Whole Kids Foundation launches their Garden to Cafeteria Toolkit. The toolkit shares examples of some of the most successful garden to cafeteria programs in the U.S. and provides tools for implementing best practices in your school district. The webinar also shares how districts can apply to receive on-site training from the Slow Food USA National School Garden Program for garden to cafeteria programs.

Recording available!


Funding to Support Summer and Afterschool Nutrition Programs

One in six children do not know where their next meal is coming from. Child hunger is a national crisis and you can help by partnering with a YMCA to be part of the Y's Year-Round Food Program. Encourage your Y partners to learn more about grant opportunities to support their efforts to empower youth to their full potential through the Summer and Afterschool Nutrition Programs.

The deadline for applying is June 22, 2017.

Summer Food Service Program Logo

Promoting Your Summer Food Service Program

School is almost out and now is the time to finalize your plans for summer feeding. Do you need resources to promote your summer feeding program? The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) has all types of resources including flyers, recipes, placemats, posters, and activity guides for family. All resources are in English and Spanish and can be downloaded for free from the SFSP website. Can't print copies? You can order print materials by completing the Resource Order Form (allow 2-4 weeks for delivery).

Grantee Spotlight

The Wallace Center: Farm to School Food Safety Training

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Food safety is often viewed as a barrier to bringing more locally and regionally produced foods into schools. The Wallace Center, part of the Agriculture and Enterprise group at Winrock International, is meeting that challenge by using the USDA Farm to School Grant program to take the conversation about food safety straight to the front lines – the farmers themselves.

The Wallace Center project focuses on the development of a practical food safety curriculum in five trainings across the south. Developed in collaboration with members of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in Washington, D.C., and La Montañita Cooperative in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wallace Center’s “tiered food safety methodology” offers an adaptive and culturally relevant strategy for engaging growers. To cultivate a true culture of food safety requires understanding and buy-in from participating farmers, and Wallace and their partners are working with a diverse array of producers to promote food safety not as a required box to check off a list, but as a route to new market access and social impact.

Like many successful farm to school projects, the Wallace Center’s work was built on successful partnerships — collaborating with cooperative extension services, state departments of agriculture, Farm to School Network state leads, and community-based nonprofits in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Georgia.

The Wallace Center's food safety trainings, supported by funds from the USDA Farm to School Grant program, focuses on providing introductory level information about the Food Safety Modernization Act, risk analysis, Good Agricultural Practices, and how to develop standard operating procedures to support food safety throughout production. “Our training focuses on the positive” says Wallace Center Director John Fisk. “It reverses the negative reactions to external food safety expectations, and positions food safety as a way to keep promises to customers, which is good for business.”

At the heart of Wallace’s work is a focus on making food safety education relevant, practical, and culturally accessible for all growers. Calvin Head, Director of the Mileston Farmers’ Cooperative in Tchula, Mississippi says that effective education needs to “let farmers be farmers” and create a space to discuss what is and isn’t working within the community. These conversations help growers “understand the procedures of implementing farm food safety, appreciate the financial consequences of not complying with food safety standards, and demonstrate the new markets and new possibilities that [food safety certification] is opening up.”