Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

CDFA Undersecretary Birdsong applauds partnership as USDA announces funding for schools to purchase locally grown foods  

(Top) CDFA Undersecretary Christine Birdsong speaks to those in attendance. (Bottom right) Birdsong pauses for a group photo of CDFA, USDA and CDE officials attending the event, including USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffit (left) and CDE Food and Nutrition Services Director Kim Frinzell (right). (Middle left) Birdsong and CDFA Special Advisor for Climate, Water and Drought Kayla Ungar enjoy a tour of the Waggoner Elementary School garden led by students after yesterday’s announcement. (Bottom left) A Waggoner Elementary School students describes a school garden sign, “Saving Water in the Garden,” which is one of the signs in the school garden funded through a grant from CDFA’s 2021 Farm to School Incubator Grant Program.

California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Undersecretary Christine Birdsong spoke at an event yesterday held by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service at Waggoner Elementary School in Winters to announce the award of more than $23 million through the Local Foods for School Cooperative Agreement Program. The funds will allow the California Department of Education to purchase and distribute local and regional foods and beverages for schools to serve children through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.  

“CDFA is proud to be here today in partnership with USDA and the California Department of Education to help more students develop lifelong relationships with healthy food, area farmers and local, resilient food systems,” Birdsong said. “This aligns perfectly with the partnership our CDFA Farm to School Program enjoys with school leaders statewide to promote more farm to school activities, school gardens and integrated, food-based education for California students.”

Yesterday’s announcement was made by USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt, who served previously as CDFA’s undersecretary.

“This cooperative agreement supporting California schools is another example of how USDA is working to build a more resilient food system rooted in local and regional production,” Lester Moffitt said. “The Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program provides an opportunity for states to strengthen ties between local farmers, ranchers, food businesses and schools, and gives students access to nutritious foods unique to the area they live in, building stronger connections across local communities.”

Click here to read the USDA press release with further details of the announcement.

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