Farm Fresh Challenge
Take the Farm Fresh Challenge this October 2019

During the month of October, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is hosting the annual Farm Fresh Challenge. Open to all TDA contracting entities (CE) in the National School Lunch Program, the Challenge is a fun and engaging way for school nutrition professionals and their schools to gain recognition for their efforts to bring local foods and garden-based learning activities to their students.

Participating in the Farm Fresh Challenge is easier than you may think, as some of the food options you’re already serving in the cafeteria - like milk and fresh producer items - are likely locally sourced from Texas producers, which means you’ve already completed some of the Challenge requirements before you ever pledge.

Challenge participation soared in 2018 with more than 230 school districts participating statewide, serving over 2 million students! Are you ready to join the fun, and earn recognition for your district?

Other Helpful Resources

Defining Local Decision Tool

The USDA authorizes entities participating in the NSLP to define local in a manner that best suits their needs and the needs of the population they serve. This tool will walk you through two questions to help you identify your entity’s definition of local.

Local Procurement Decision Tree

This USDA resource will help you identify they appropriate procurement method to use when buying local. 

Success Stories

CRUNCH ACROSS COVE! A fun way to celebrate the Farm Fresh Challenge!

Copperas Cove ISD regularly celebrates local products with Farm Fresh activities, highlighting a different local produce item each month. Copperas Cove ISD students from six elementary schools recently participated in CRUNCH ACROSS COVE to celebrate the Farm Fresh Challenge! This fun event gave students the memorable experience of crunching on delicious Farm Fresh apples, all at the same time. Students learned about Texas apples, how they grow, and why they are a healthy, nutritious snack.

The CRUNCH ACROSS COVE event is a great example of a low-cost educational opportunity that brings together the entire school community and meets the educational component: Teach Local of the Farm Fresh Challenge.

Students exposed to local food through fun, educational activities, tend to be more willing to try these foods when they are offered during school meals. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Farm Fresh Challenge educational component encourages school districts to implement nutrition education activities such as this one, in support of connecting students to Texas agriculture.

Participating in the Challenge is Easy

Follow these simple steps to participate in the Farm Fresh Challenge and receive TDA recognition!

Step 1: Take the Challenge participation pledge.

Important note: The Challenge participation pledge should be completed by the CE, not an individual school campus.

Step 2:
Plan your menu and educational activities.

Step 3: Complete challenge parameters listed below.

Step 4: Submit your participation attestation form
 by Thursday, November 15, 2019.

Step 5 (optional): Send a success story about your participation and photos
(if available) to

Choose Your Participation Tier: Eat Local. Teach Local. Be Social.

Resources to Help You Complete the Challenge

Below are a few resources that you can leverage to make completing the Farm Fresh Challenge a breeze for your school.

Sourcing Local Products

Find local Texas farmers, ranchers and distributors using our Farm Fresh Network tool.

Questions about how to buy local? Visit the Local Procurement page for additional resources.

Recipes for Menu Items

Make your menu fresh with our Cooking for the Seasons cookbook.

Farm Fresh Activities Ideas

Engage your students in garden-based learning with these activity ideas.

For students in grades K-5

For students in grades 6-12

Social Guidance

Complete the Be Social. parameter with the help of our social guidance tool.

Click the icon below for the Social Media Support Toolkit

Even more resources to support your participation in the Farm Fresh Challenge can be found on our RESOURCE PAGE.

2018 Farm Fresh Challenge Participants
Browse records in that    Search     
Contracting Entity NameESC RegionAward Level
FRANKSTON ISD7Best of the Bunch
DIBOLL ISD7Best of the Bunch
HOLLIDAY ISD9Best of the Bunch
SMITHVILLE ISD13Best of the Bunch
TEMPLE ISD12Best of the Bunch
LACKLAND ISD20Best of the Bunch
JUDSON ISD20Best of the Bunch
TEXARKANA ISD8Best of the Bunch
ANGLETON ISD4Best of the Bunch
BRAZOSPORT ISD4Best of the Bunch
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For more information about Farm Fresh Fridays or the Farm Fresh Challenge, please contact TDA at

Click the icon above to download stickers, buttons, banner, bookmarks and static clings

Parent Communication Card


Assistance available in English and Spanish. Please call 877-TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325) for help.

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Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Texas Department of Agriculture
Commissioner Sid Miller