TDA Brings Farm Fresh Challenge to the Summer Food Service Program

The Farm Fresh Challenge is part of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Farm Fresh Initiative, a comprehensive effort that helps Texans establish lifelong healthy habits and supports local farmers, ranchers and economies. Since 2013, the challenge has recognized schools that include more local foods in meals and snacks and provide lessons about Texas agriculture. This year, Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) sponsors statewide will have an opportunity to participate in the 2018 Farm Fresh Challenge. 

Farm Fresh Challenge participants will receive recognition for purchasing local foods, providing educational opportunities, and outreach that celebrates Farm Fresh Fridays. Taking the challenge helps boost local economies and encourages positive engagement with parents and families. The Farm Fresh Challenge may help encourage site participants and families to return for meals each day if they know they will also experience a fun learning opportunity or taste a new farm fresh food item!

Take the Farm Fresh Challenge

Eat Local. Teach Local. Be Social.

The 2018 Farm Fresh Challenge period is June 11-22, 2018 and is open to all Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) sponsors in Texas.

Eat Local.  Serve a minimum of three Texas products from different local meal components (e.g., grain, fluid milk, and vegetable) during the challenge period to encourage your community to eat local, fresh food.*

Teach Local.  Host a minimum of two educational opportunities during the challenge period. Farm Fresh educational opportunities include activities that educate summer site participants about local food and agriculture.**

Be Social.  Share a minimum of one social media post on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter using #FarmFreshFriday, to build community awareness of your Farm Fresh Challenge participation.

*Products should be sourced locally — directly from a farmer, a farmers market, school or community garden, or through a distributor that works directly with local producers.

**A Farm Fresh educational opportunity is any activity that educates students about local food and agriculture. Activity examples include taste testing local products; field trips to a farm or farmers market; Meet the Farmer days; garden-based learning activities; or classroom lessons focused on local food and agriculture. You may use one of TDA’s Farm Fresh Friday celebration ideas and resources or create your own.

Participation and Recognition

Participants in the summer Farm Fresh Challenge will be encouraged to serve a certain number of local products during the challenge as well as conduct supportive educational activities and post relevant social media content during June 11-22, 2018.

TDA will recognize all SFSP/SSO sponsors that complete the challenge and submit the attestation form showing challenge parameters have been met.

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

Step 1:
Take the online Farm Fresh Challenge participation pledge.

  • The participation pledge should be completed by a CE Sponsor, not an individual site director.
  • CEs that pledge participation will receive a participation toolkit filled with Farm Fresh Fridays support materials from TDA. See the participation pledge for more information.
  • By pledging to take the Farm Fresh Challenge you agree to provide feedback to TDA when solicited at the beginning and end of the challenge.
  • Take the pledge by May 1, 2018 to ensure you receive a participation toolkit.

Step 2: Visit the Farm Fresh Challenge RESOURCE PAGE for educational activity ideas and downloadable materials to bring the Farm Fresh Challenge to life!

Step 3: Complete the challenge parameters above. Eat Local. Teach Local. Be Social.

Step 4: Submit the participation attestation form by July 6, 2018.

  • The attestation form collects information about local products served, dollars spent on Texas products, educational opportunities offered, and Farm Fresh messages shared through social media.
  • NOTE: You can submit this information by answering all of the attestation questions on the pledge (in Step 1). This is a great way to share what you plan to accomplish during the challenge period.

Step 5 (optional): Tell TDA about your celebration!
Simply send a success story and photos (if available) to FarmFresh@TexasAgriculture.gov.

Local Procurement Resources

Defining Local Decision Tool

USDA grants the authority for entities participating in the SFSP or SSO 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 that will help you identify a definition of local that helps you meet your goals.

USDA Procurement Guide

The guide covers the basics of all procurement methods that can be used to purchase local. Including how to find local, where to find local products and how to purchase local products in accordance with regulations. Pages 90-91 point out some benefits and unique opportunities for CEs operating the summer meal program.

For additional information about operating the Farm Fresh initiative during the summer meal program visit the Farm to Summer Web pages.

Success Stories
Coming Soon!
2018 Farm Fresh Challenge Copy Paste Promo Kit - Summer Challenge
Thank you for promoting the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) 2018 Farm Fresh Challenge for Summer! Simply copy any of the messages provided in this promo kit into a newsletter, blog, listserv, or post on social media. This message will help the TDA increase participation in its Summer Farm Fresh Challenge. This ensures more students learn about local foods and Texas agriculture. The 2018 Farm Fresh Challenge period is June 11-June 22, 2018 and is open to all Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) sponsors in Texas. 

Click the icon below for the Promo kit. 


These images are designed to be used to support your promotion of the Summer Farm Fresh Challenge. All images are sized appropriately for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and blog posts. 

Click the icon below for the images.


Parent Communication Card


In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, 
color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.  
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: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, 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; 
(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or 
(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
© 2018 Texas Department of Agriculture