I'm passing along the latest USDA Farm to School E-letter, which includes details on two webinars offered this week that may be of interest. For those of you who applied for or are interested in applying for USDA Farm to School Grants, a webinar on "Trends in Successful USDA Farm to School Grant Applications" will be held today at 1 pm Eastern. Another webinar will be offered on Thursday, December 13th focusing on school gardens. See details below!
Farm to Institution Specialist
Center for Regional Food Systems | Michigan State University
480 Wilson Rd | Rm 303 Natural Resources Building | East Lansing, MI 48824
USDA Farm to School E-letter
USDA NEWS & UPDATES
Communities Warm Up to Winter Markets
Cost effective options, such as hoop houses and eco-friendly greenhouse energy use, have helped many small and mid-sized farmers expand their growing season while keeping overhead costs down. Many local markets also launch targeted marketing campaigns to raise community awareness of the extended farmers' market season and product offerings. A recent USDA Blog post, highlights a few producers who have increased their growing capacity with USDA grants for season extension technologies.
Farmers' markets offer a great way to meet producers in your community and learn what products are available in the winter season. If you are a school food service director or teacher, visiting a local market may spur ideas for your harvest of the month program or provide a networking opportunity that leads to a future farm field trip for students at your school. As outlined in the recently published Geographic Preference Q&As – Part II, school food authorities may also use farmers' markets to obtain price quotes when using the informal procurement method. Click here to check out the National Farmers Market Directory's searchable database of over 7,800 markets!
WEBINARS AND TRAININGS
Trends in Successful USDA Farm to School Grant Applications ~ December 11
Live link to the webinar: https://www306.livemeeting.com/cc/usda/join?id=7DHD2D&role=attend
Best Practices in Starting and Sustaining a School Garden ~ December 13
BITS FROM BLOGS
New Jersey School Gardens Offer More than Just Produce
The garden co-cultivated by William H. Ross Elementary School and Eugene A. Tighe Middle School in Margate City, NJ came in first place. The schools' Garden Gourmet tasting program allows students to sample the fresh fruits and vegetables harvested from the garden—and the garden opportunities don't end at lunch! At Ross Elementary, students digitally photograph vegetable beds and write multiplication and division word problems based on the garden layout. These math word problems are then solved by fourth grade students. More >
Stay up-to-date on all the latest USDA news and stories on the USDA Blog!