Maryland Statewide Organizing


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From the short course "Organizing Farm to School Statewide: Collaboration Models for Program, Policy, and Success of Scale" at the Farm to Cafeteria Conference. Thursday, March 13, 2009. Portland, OR.

Contact Jane Lawton at for more information.

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Maryland Statewide Organizing

  1. 1. Jane Lawton Maryland Farm to School
  2. 2. What is Maryland Farm to School? <ul><li>Legislation passed April 2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Named for Former State Delegate Jane Lawton </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduced by State Senator Jamie Raskin in her honor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Purposes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase Maryland-grown products in school lunches; educate students about where their food comes from, how it is produced, and the benefits of a healthy diet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase income for Maryland farmers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maryland Home Grown Lunch Week </li></ul><ul><ul><li>September 22-26, 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Planned for September 14-18, 2009 </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. How is the Farm to School Program Funded and Staffed? <ul><li>No designated funds or staff </li></ul><ul><li>(other duties as assigned!) </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinated by Maryland Department of Agriculture and Department of Education with Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Maryland Agriculture Education Foundation, University of Maryland Cooperative Extension 4-H and local school systems state-wide. </li></ul><ul><li>Working group of ~12 who can make things happen; wider list of 70+ interested individuals </li></ul>
  4. 4. What Maryland grown crops can be served in schools? <ul><li>Apples </li></ul><ul><li>Asian pears </li></ul><ul><li>Carrots </li></ul><ul><li>Cabbage </li></ul><ul><li>Broccoli </li></ul><ul><li>Eggs </li></ul><ul><li>Green beans </li></ul><ul><li>Pears </li></ul><ul><li>Peaches </li></ul><ul><li>Sweet corn </li></ul><ul><li>Watermelon </li></ul><ul><li>Cheeseburgers </li></ul><ul><li>Cucumber and tomato salad </li></ul><ul><li>Mac and cheese with butternut squash </li></ul><ul><li>Maryland veggie sub with cheese </li></ul><ul><li>Melon cup </li></ul><ul><li>Pizza with local peppers and onions </li></ul><ul><li>Vegetable soup </li></ul>
  5. 5. Maryland Home Grown Lunch Week <ul><li>Kick off event at Takoma Park Middle School </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bill sponsor’s district </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supportive food service director and distributor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adequate facility for media event </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Maryland Home Grown Lunch Week Goal and Outcomes <ul><li>Goal: 4 of 24 districts participating </li></ul><ul><li>Result: 22 or 24 districts participated, such as… </li></ul><ul><li>Montgomery County - Maryland f & v featured every day at all schools. Daily announcements featured an item that would be on the menu, describing the nutritional benefits and where the item was grown.   Menu signs included information on the daily featured Information also distributed in elementary school menu, which goes home with 60,000 students and the Division of Food & Nutrition Service's Web page.   </li></ul>
  7. 7. Maryland Home Grown Lunch Week Examples <ul><li>Frederick County – Apples, cantaloupe and watermelon. </li></ul><ul><li>Anne Arundel County / Outdoor Learning Center – students made and ate items using local foods such as chocolate zucchini cake, salsa, squash mac–n-cheese, and green beans. </li></ul><ul><li>Cecil County - Peaches, apples, Asian pears, cheeseburgers, cherry tomatoes rainbow carrots, watermelon, sweet corn </li></ul>
  8. 8. Map provided by the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future
  9. 9. Map provided by the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future
  10. 10. How Did We Do It? <ul><li>The Time was Ripe! </li></ul><ul><li>Broad Support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Public – media, parents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political – state and local </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Producers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Procurers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Purveyors </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. How Did We Do It? <ul><li>Systems perspective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Complex problems need innovative solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build relationships, trust, understanding and common commitment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish communication protocols, collective knowledge and new capacities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Success is shared. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. How Did We Do It? <ul><li>Right people involved </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People who ask “how” – not “why” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People who know system and decision-makers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People who can make something happen </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Collaboration & Consensus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Permission to do what works for you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many “right” ways to do good </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generate positive “buzz” </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. How Did We Do It? <ul><li>Models & Templates </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Poster, placemat, bookmarks, press releases, letters to the editor </li></ul></ul>Poster >
  14. 14. How Did We Do It? Placemat >
  15. 15. How Did We Do It? <ul><li>Priorities vs. Possibilities: “ TBC” List </li></ul><ul><li> (“to be considered” later as resources permit) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider legislation providing staff and resources to manage and implement the program; grants to schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage local school inter-disciplinary collaboration between teachers, food service staff, etc. Involve art and other departments. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide models for contract growing, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support school gardens; farmers’ markets at schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involve private schools, summer programs at community colleges, and environmental education centers </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. How Did We Do It? <ul><li>More “TBC”… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider local purchasing in standards for Maryland Green Schools. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participate in/exhibit at meetings of school food service directors, Maryland PTA, dieticians, medical personnel, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve MD F2S logo; labeling with individual farm names </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involve county health officers, libraries, Gov’s Office for Children, UMD and JHU Public Health, Childhood Obesity programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expand list of GAP-certified farmers and those in process </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Managing the Process <ul><li>Convener needs neutrality, enthusiasm, and ability to resolve problems – alone or with help. </li></ul><ul><li>Recorder (not the convener) distributes a meeting report within days of the meeting, preferably posted to web site. </li></ul><ul><li>Identify and recruit people with the skills and talents that the group needs to achieve its goals in an acceptable period. Diverse skills and personalities are beneficial. </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate goals effectively to anyone interested in joining the group. Update to reflect accomplishments and changes in direction. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Managing the Process <ul><li>Have an agenda. What do you want to convey, and what do you want as an outcome? Organize meetings to come away with an outcome rather than planning an outcome. Members need to invest time beforehand. </li></ul><ul><li>Establish effective communication within the working group and with the outside world. Communicate regularly (many options available) especially with outsiders. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep web pages up to date. These pages are your public face and recruitment advertising. Post a news item at least every 3 months. If there is no news, nothing is happening. </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare special presentations for key audiences (legislatures, advisory boards, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Celebrate milestones! Share success with partners! </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Make </li></ul><ul><li>Maryland Home Grown </li></ul><ul><li>School Lunch Week </li></ul><ul><li>A year-round experience! </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Jane M. Storrs </li></ul><ul><li>Maryland Department of Agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>410-841-5770; </li></ul>