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Presentation at 2014 Massachusetts Sustainable Communities and Campuses Conference

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  1. 1. What is farm to school?
  2. 2. CLASSROOMCOMMUNITY CAFETERIA What is farm to school?
  3. 3. What is farm to school?
  4. 4. Experiential Nutrition & Food Education IN THE CAFETERIA: • Implementing taste-tests in cafeterias and classrooms • Cooking demonstrations • Eating local foods in school meals and snacks IN THE CLASSROOM: • In-class curriculum to link local food to traditional areas of study • Hands-on learning in addition to or instead of school garden
  5. 5. IN THE COMMUNITY: • Going on farm, community garden, or farmers market visits • Having farmers visit schools IN THE SCHOOL GARDEN: • Encouraging students to understand where food comes from/how it’s grown • Teaching about local food environment • Encouraging different learning styles • Creating an alternative classroom space for any subject Experiential Nutrition & Food Education
  6. 6. Local Sourcing • Buying local products directly from farmers in your region • Purchasing from distributors who source locally • Increasing transparency and tracking of local products • Celebrating local through promotion in the cafeteria and communication with families
  7. 7. Sustainable Farm to School Programs… • Use contracts and policies to your advantage • Invest in lasting equipment • Make local foods purchasing profitable for the farm and fit within your school budget • Work with community partners to help plan and implement programming • Involve families
  8. 8. What Mass. Farm to School Does
  9. 9. • Technical Assistance – “Matchmaking” • Local Foods Promotion • Education • Advocacy • Farm to School Network • Systems Approach What Mass. Farm to School Does
  10. 10. Don’t know where to find locally-grown food Systems and relationships aren’t in place Food Service staff not trained to cook fresh Not enough space or right equipment Local food might cost more Not enough time in the school day Common Hurdles:
  11. 11. Children eat better when they eat local. Children learn better when they eat better. School procurement of locally- grown makes a real difference in the local economy. Relationships with local family farms matter to community identity. Farm to School makes learning FUN! Farm to school is good for your city or town:
  12. 12. Federal State City/Town School Ability to leverage change Support for farm to school programs can be found at every level of governance
  13. 13. Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act USDA Food and Nutrition Service • Nutrition Standards • Free/Reduced Meals • School Breakfast • Geographic Preference • Wellness Policies • etc. Federal
  14. 14. House Bill 4919 (186th General Court) (2010) Promoting state purchasing of local agricultural products The legislation requires the state purchasing agent to make reasonable efforts to purchase state-grown products unless the price of the good exceeds the price of products grown outside the state by more than 10%. It also authorizes the procurement officer to award contracts without seeking quotations and allows individual purchases of less than $25,000 to Massachusetts farm operations for the procurement of agriculture products, including fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy products, meats, aquatic products, crops, horticultural products, and products processed into value-added products. The legislation requires the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to collect data from schools and food producers and work with programs that facilitate the acquisition of local agricultural products by public schools. House Bill 4429 (Acts of 2006, Chapter 123) (2006) Regarding procurement of Massachusetts-grown and produced products by state agencies This legislation allows state agencies to pay up to 10% above the lowest bid to purchase Massachusetts-produced fruit, vegetable, meat, seafood, egg, dairy, horticultural, and value-added products, as long as there is no conflict with other state or federal laws. State procurement officers may award contracts up to $25,000 without seeking other bids, as required by standard procurement procedures. State
  15. 15. In your city/town Agriculture Commission Health Department School Committee Wellness Committee School Business Department School Food Service Director Superintendent
  16. 16. Agricultural Commissions Draft and promote a preferential purchasing ordinance. Contact your town administrator or mayor and ask that local foods be served at town functions. Encourage area farmers to consider selling to schools.
  17. 17. Agricultural Commissions WHEREAS: The City of Easthampton recognizes the importance of fruits and vegetables as part of a nutritional diet for the health of our residents, especially our children, and WHEREAS: We understand the importance of healthy food in reducing the occurrence of childhood obesity and associated health concerns, and WHEREAS: We support our farms in Easthampton and neighboring communities for the preservation of our cultural heritage and for the economic benefit, and WHEREAS: We support legislations, in both the Federal and State legislatures that promote the “Farm to School” project, be it RESOLVED: That we the City Council of Easthampton, MA, hereby recognize the commitment of our city’s food service contractor to use fruit and vegetables from small and medium sized farms in school lunches year-round and that we make it a priority to favor companies in the future that follow a policy of purchasing local agricultural products.
  18. 18. Health Department Support school and community gardens by developing practices and procedures for safe harvest and handling.
  19. 19. Food Service RFP & Contract Build local procurement language into RFPs for food service management companies and/or distributor contracts. • Make your objectives clear • Design a structure for assigning points or value to meeting those objectives • Build in accountability
  20. 20. Food Service RFP & Contract Criterion: FSMC emphasizes the use of locally grown and locally grown-and-processed produce and encourages the use of locally grown additional agricultural products (including proteins, dairy and grains) and has policies that support purchasing from local farmers, mindfulness of seasonal availability and demonstrates commitment to minimize waste and maximize composting. Local is defined as within a 50 mile radius. Highly Advantageous: The FSMC has documented policies and procedures that support the “green” operation of the program and the use of greater than 20% locally grown and processed produce in all of their programs. Also includes a focus on reducing food waste both from preparation and consumption. The FSMC will provide monthly reports documenting the purchase of locally grown products and the farmers who provide them.
  21. 21. Produce Bids If your school is writing a produce bid, USDA provides a framework for using the location of the product as an evaluation tool. It’s not just about price. SOURCING 2.1 Geographic Preference, Provide produce grown within a 250 mile radius of Oakland, Ca. Rated Best Able to Meet Guidelines – 20 points Rated 2nd Best Able to Meet Guidelines – 15 points Rated 3rd Best Able to Meet Guidelines – 10 points
  22. 22. Wellness Policies Next phase of HHFKA will require Wellness Policy accountability. Use the Wellness Policy to link fresh, local foods to student wellbeing. For meals and snacks provided by the School District, preference will be given to foods that are locally grown and processed (canned or frozen); -when possible, within 50 miles of City, Massachusetts and secondarily within the state of Massachusetts. Fresh foods or freshly cooked (and non-fried) food will be given a preference over canned or preserved foods. Our goal is to spend at least 15% of the annual produce budget on locally grown fruits and vegetables.
  23. 23. Programs • USDA School Meals • Dept. of Defense Fresh • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program • School Breakfast • Summer Food Service
  24. 24. Resources Website: Email: Facebook: /massfarmtoschool National Farm to School Network: USDA FNS: farmtoschool