Partner Support Grows Farm to School

Volume 4, Issue 14, July 24, 2018

Smiling girls eating squash


Iowa Valley RC & D Supports Districts Farm to School Efforts

As school districts in Eastern Iowa dive deeper into the procurement and strategic use of local produce, FY 2018 USDA Farm to School grantee, Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), is there to assist. Iowa Valley RC&D helps districts build successful and sustainable farm to school networks and develops specific tools and resources to support both urban and rural districts. Iowa Valley RC&D also provides recipe support, like in Cedar Rapids where district leaders are piloting new recipes and developing a more extensive, long-term procurement plan. In the spring of 2018, Iowa Food Corps and Cedar Rapids District Food Service staff introduced a delicious rice and black bean salad recipe. The recipe meets the legume requirements for the National School Lunch Standards and sources ingredients from farmers less than 100 miles away! 

In addition to helping districts start and expand farm to school programs, Iowa Valley RC&D’s Food System Director, Jason Grimm, is an organizing partner for Iowa Local Food Day. Iowa Local Food Day, funded in part by a FY 2017 USDA Farm to School Grant, takes place on October 11, during National Farm to School Month. For this celebration, Grimm will assist districts around the State to procure at least two local items for their school breakfast or lunch. “This annual event is a great way to start or enhance farm to school efforts, making it fun and helping it feel more accessible and collaborative,” Grimm says.

Boys learning about beans
Farmer and Iowa Valley RC & D’s Food System Director, Jason Grimm, shows students different types of beans.

School Food: Making It Healthier, Making It Regional

Have you ever wondered how schools are serving healthy, local foods while facing common challenges, such as limited equipment or staffing shortages? A new report from FoodCorps, School Food Focus, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shares how six school districts from across the nation have adopted creative strategies to overcome common school food struggles. Checkout the PreK-12 School Food: Making It Healthier, Making It Regional report for real-life suggestions on training and invigorating cafeteria staff, increasing scratch cooking, and serving culturally diverse meals.

Woman's hands holding tray of blueberries and cucumbers

School Garden Support Organization

Leadership Institute

The School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute, hosted by Life Lab in partnership with the Whole Kids Foundation, will be held January 20 – 25, 2019 in Santa Cruz, California. Join 20 other School Garden Support Organization teams from across the nation to strengthen your organization’s goal of enhancing professional development and ongoing support for school garden programs in your region. Applications are due August 10, 2018.

Funding Opportunities for Farm to Cafeteria Programs

LiveWell Colorado recently collaborated with the Colorado Community College System on a webinar that reviews funding sources available to support farm to cafeteria programs. The webinar focuses on high schools and community colleges that a have Agriculture Technology Programs, such as Future Farmers of America, and how they can partner with school nutrition services to implement farm to cafeteria programs. Listen here.

Upcoming Webinars

Young girl eating lunch and holding green bean

Institute of Child Nutrition S.T.A.R Webinar: Strategies to Integrate Nutrition Education Curriculum within School Nutrition Programs

Thursday, July 26, 2018 // 3-4 pm ET; 2-3 pm CT; 1-2 pm MT; 12-1 pm PT

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) serve as a tool to help individuals ages 2 years and older adopt healthy eating, while enjoying foods and celebrating cultural and personal traditions through food.  Federally funded school meal programs reflect the key food groups recommended by the DGAs.  The school meals program is an integral part of the education system and is a valuable venue for providing nutrition education.  The school nutrition staff possess the ability to teach children about nutritious food in unique ways.  This webinar provides suggestions on ways to integrate the DGAs and nutrition education messages in the school environment. A continuing education certificate will be available after completion of the webinar. You don’t want to miss this webinar. Sign up now!

Woman's hands holding seeds

Trending Topics Webinar - Farm to ECE: Indigenous Foods in Early Care and Education Settings

Thursday, August 2 // 2-3pm ET

Incorporating indigenous foods into education and meals in early care and education (ECE) settings offers many benefits, including increasing children’s knowledge of tribal history and food ways and strengthening cultural, spiritual, and social connections in the community. However, ensuring indigenous foods are procured, prepared, and served in ways that align with state licensing and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) regulations can be challenging. Join this webinar to hear from speakers from the National Farm to School Network, the Institute for Agriculture Trade and Policy, and the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association and to learn about innovative practices and resources that help overcome these challenges and support the inclusion of indigenous foods in ECE settings and in CACFP. Register here.