When a child briefly holds a cherry tomato before biting down to enjoy its sweet taste, does the student wonder about the tomato’s origin? Who grew it? Is this a healthy treat for me to eat?
The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Office of Farm to Fork (CDFA-F2F) Farm to School program wants to get students pondering such questions and developing lifetime connections to local farmers and healthy meal choices.
The main initiatives of the CDFA-F2F Farm to School program are:
1. Facilitating the buying and serving of healthy, California-grown produce in school lunches across the state
2. Educating California students about food and agriculture in cafeterias and classrooms
3. Encouraging experiential learning opportunities for students in school gardens, FFA, culinary programs, and the like.
A big part of fulfilling these initiatives comes through the partnership of Farm to School practitioners in the California Farm to School Network. There are approximately 4,000 network members who receive a monthly e-newsletter about topical events and research across California and the nation. There are 11 network regions, with a volunteer coordinator for each who provides support for regional events.
Recent CDFA-F2F Farm to School successes include program manager Nick Anicich meeting with more than 140 network partners since December 2018 during a statewide listening tour. The tour’s purpose was to learn what program efforts would best benefit practitioners, as well as prioritize the types of activities that should be at the 2020 CDFA-F2F Farm to School Conference. Based on feedback, CDFA-F2F Farm to School is focusing more on increasing school district investments in farm to school, creating school district collaboratives to coordinate education in classrooms and cafeterias, and aiding professional development opportunities for school foodservices staff.
Visit www.cafarmtoschool.org to view the many resources available through the CDFA-F2F Farm to School program. To join the California Farm to School Network, subscribe to our newsletter via the “Contact” tab.
October is National Farm to School Month! We’re highlighting the work of our California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Farm to Fork (CDFA-F2F) Farm to School program all month. Stay tuned for weekly posts!