Celebrate the Summer!

united stated department of agriculture logo

Volume 3, Issue 19, July 18, 2017

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
People celebrating Summer KickOff Event

Touchdown for Fairfax County: Summer Feeding Kick-Off Event Promotes Healthy Eating

First Lady of Virginia, Dorothy McAuliffe, and former NFL player Brian Mitchell, joined Mid-Atlantic Deputy Regional Administrator, Diana Limbacher, and numerous other dignitaries at the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) kick-off event on June 28, 2017 at Mount Vernon Woods Elementary school in Alexandria, Virginia. FCPS hosted the event with support from local and state agencies to promote health and wellness initiatives occurring in Fairfax County. 

Rodney Taylor, FCPS director of food and nutrition services, began the Food for Every Child to Eat During Summer (FEEDS) Community BBQs program in 2016 with 10 sites. This year, the program has expanded to16 sites, including four apartment complexes and a community center. The community BBQs are designed to serve as SFSP sites, as well as activity centers for all members of the community.

Activities at the event included a free farmers market sponsored by the Capital Area Food Bank, hula hoop contests, a bike rodeo, and dancing. Children and parents also had the opportunity to learn about sustainable gardening, healthy cooking, and nutrition. The event also included a donation presentation from the CEO of INOVA Health Systems.

All children, even if they are not eligible for free meals during the school year, can eat for free. Adults can purchase meals for $2. SFSP lunches will be served every weekday through August 26, 2017.

Resources and Webinars

Seasonal Produce Guide

Seasonal Produce Guide

Check out the Seasonal Produce Guide to see what's in season this summer, and all-year long! Learn everything you need to know about produce and check out their recipes and tools to eat healthier now!

Kids eating healthy food

August Farm to ECE Webinar: "State Agencies as Leaders and Partners in Growing Farm to ECE"

Date: Wednesday, August 2, 2017 @ 3:30pm ET

State agencies (including departments of agriculture, education and health) can be key partners in facilitating growth and institutionalization of farm to ECE at the state level. Join the National Farm to School Network to learn more about how state agencies across the country are leading the way in supporting farm to ECE. Representatives from Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the South Carolina Departments of Health and Environmental Control and Social Services will share their innovative programs and strategic approaches to growing and supporting farm to ECE. Register here.

A Roadmap for Farm to Early Care and Education

This comprehensive guide is designed to help partners from diverse sectors navigate the early care and education landscape and better understand opportunities and leverage points for farm to ECE. The Roadmap includes a step by step approach for getting started, and links to key ECE agencies in every state (e.g. CACFP, Head Start, licensing), making the first steps in farm to ECE relationship building as easy as a click of the mouse. Explore the Roadmap here

Farm to ECE Roadmap
Farm to Summer Fact Sheet

Farm to Summer Resources

Do you need more inspiration for how to bring the farm to your summer program? Check out these resources and learn how summer is ripe for farm to school activities!

Celebrate the Summer

Children eating summer meals

Promote healthy choices at summer meals sites! Many state agencies and nonprofit organizations continue harvest of the month or other educational programs for local items all year round. Summer sponsors can benefit from free promotional materials like posters, stickers, sample recipes, or menu graphics, along with recommended activities and lesson plans that go along with the featured product! Check out harvest of the month programs in your state or community to find out what types of resources can complement seasonal summer meals. Visit our Farm to Summer website for more information on finding, buying, and serving local foods while school is out.

Already bringing the farm to your summer meals program? Tell us about it! 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.