The Dirt, Vol. 5, Isssue 5: Farm to School: Looking Forward to 2019

united stated department of agriculture logo

Volume 5, Issue 5, December 18, 2018

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
Gov. Herbert with 3rd Graders

Farm to School: Looking Forward to 2019

Happy Holidays to our Farm to School Community! The Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) is excited to begin the review of the Fiscal Year 2019 Farm to School Grants.  The application closed on December 4th, 2018 and awards will be announced in the summer of 2019.  OCFS is also gearing up for the 2019 Farm to School Census that will begin around spring of 2019 to survey the status of farm to school programs around the country and measure progress since the last Census.  Stay tuned for more information!

Utah Governor Visits Classroom to Celebrate Local Harvest Day

On November 20th, 2018, the students of the Guadalupe School welcomed Utah Governor Gary Herbert, and Utah Commissioner of Agriculture LuAnn Adams, as well as farmers Jordan Riley (Riley Orchards) and Luke Petersen (Petersen Family Farms) for Utah Harvest Day. The special visitors joined a third grade class for a Utah Harvest Gratitude celebration.

Jordan Riley explained to the students how apples grow and gave each student their own Elliot Gold apple, a unique varietal of apple developed and grown in Utah. Riley then demonstrated to students how to break an apple in half with their bare hands, to the amazement of the children.

Luke Petersen explained to the class that root vegetables and various squash, like the massive purple carrots he brought for the class, were very valuable to families in the days before refrigeration because they can stored throughout the winter.

The children got one last surprise as Governor Herbert proclaimed November 20th, 2018, “Utah Harvest Day”.

Governor Herbert with staff from the Guadalupe School

USDA Announces $3.7 Million of Support for Fruit and Vegetable Growers

On December 4, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service announced it will provide $3.7 million of assistance to fruit and vegetable growers in 16 states.  This will be done through a GAP Assistance Program to enhance market access by defraying costs of undergoing voluntary USDA Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audits in 2019.


Marketing and Regulatory Program Undersecretary Greg Ibach explained the importance of this assistance. “These audits help producers meet Produce Safety Rule standards and will also improve their ability to sell into markets that expect growers to demonstrate that they have incorporated a culture of food safety into their operations,” said Ibach. “We are excited to be able to support producers pursuing these audits in the 2019 season.”


More information is available in Questions and Answers about the GAP Assistance Program on AMS’ Harmonized GAP webpage and by contacting AMS’ Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Audit Services Branch at (202) 720-5021 or

New MSU Resource to Support the Use of Local Foods in Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Programs

The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems just released a new resource titled, Local Food for Little Eaters: A Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Guide to Local Food Purchasing, as well as profiles of successful farm to Migrant & Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs nationwide.

This guide gives step-by-step instructions and interactive tools that MSHS programs can use to begin purchasing and using more local foods.

The companion piece, Farm to Migrant and Seasonal Head Start in Action, offers case studies highlighting Migrant & Seasonal Head Start programs nationwide that, through local foods, are reflecting and celebrating the cultures of children and families they engage.

Explore and share these tools with your networks!  Local Food for Little Eaters: A Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Guide to Local Food Purchasing Farm to Migrant and Seasonal Head Start in Action

For more information, contact Meagan Shedd