(877)TEX-MEAL
Texas Farm Fresh Training
Farm to School Training  Minimize 

Farm to School Introduction for Schools

This training is intended for school nutrition program team members and others who are interested in bringing farm to school to their districts or campuses. Information presented during this training is introductory in nature and will lay the groundwork for future training and discussions about farm to school activities.


Defining Local Decision Tool

USDA expressly grants the authority for entities participating in Child Nutrition Programs and purchasing local food items with federal funding to define local, as long as procurement guidelines are followed.  This means that as a NSLP, CACFP, SFSP, or SSO participant you have the authority to define local.  This tool will walk you through two questions that will help you identify a definition of local based on your goals.


Procurement rules must always be followed when making purchases using federal Child Nutrition funds. Free, open competition must be maintained through all procurement processes, and you must document how you are defining local for each applicable purchase. Competition cannot be restricted by a narrow definition of local. Always reach out to your local Education Service Center (ESC) with any questions.


USDA Farm to School Webinar Series: Planning for Farm to School Success  Minimize 
Preliminary results of the USDA 2015 Farm to School Census indicate that more than 1,700 school districts nationwide don’t yet have farm to school programs, but are interested in starting one. Through this 11-part series of 30 minute webinars, USDA guide you through the USDA Farm to School Planning Toolkit. Webinars will include considerations and helpful resources to reference when starting or growing a farm to school program. Guest speakers will join the webinars to share their hands on farm to school experiences.

Intro to Farm to School: Planning and Building a Team: Jan. 14, 2016

How does a farm to school team function? Learn tips and best practices for building a farm to school team, facing struggles and surprises, and building a foundation for a successful project. Steve Merinelli, Food Service Director from Milton Town, Vermont, joins us to share his first-hand experiences.
Presentation slides
 

Setting Goals and Establishing an Evaluation Baseline: Jan. 28, 2016

How do you know if your activities are helping local farmers and improving student health? Learn how to integrate program planning/evaluation tools and techniques that will document outcomes and show the impacts of farm to school programs. 
Presentation slides

 
Finding and Buying Local Foods: Feb. 4, 2016

USDA Farm to School local food procurement guru, Christina Conell, breaks down the how to’s of finding and buying local food. We’ll cover a few procurement basics and then focus on where the opportunities are to target local products in the purchasing process. Join to gain insights on how to start making change in your process, big or small.
Presentation slides

 
Farm to School Menu Planning: Feb. 18, 2016

Let’s bring local products to life on your school lunch and breakfast menus! This presentation will take you through the menu planning cycle and show you the variety of ways to incorporate local products into your school recipes, salad bars, and cycle menus so they become permanent items in your kitchen inventory.
Presentation slides

 
Food Safety: March 3, 2016

How can we ensure the safety of farm fresh food? We’ll share local food safety best practices, including identifying safety measures for school gardens and school salad bars.
Presentation slides

 
Promoting Your Farm to School Program: March 17, 2016

You’ve put in so much hard work! Now, how do you promote your farm to school program to ensure student, school, and community engagement? Hear about programs that have successfully promoted farm to school programs while managing a tight budget.
Presentation slides

 
School Gardening: March 31, 2016

Hear about the different ways to incorporate school gardens into your farm to school program as well as hear how schools are successfully procuring school garden produce for their meal programs.
Presentation slides

 
Curriculum Integration: April 7, 2016

Experiential education is an important component of successful farm to school programs. This webinar will help you plan for your farm to school educational efforts and brainstorm food, agriculture, and nutrition-related educational activities with which you can engage students.
Presentation slides

 
Program Sustainability: April 28, 2016

Your farm to school project is blooming! But what will happen if funding levels decrease or community interest lags? With this webinar, plan ahead for these potential scenarios and learn about program sustainability best practices.  
Presentation slides

 
Evaluating Your Program: May 12, 2016

We all know that farm to school programs create positive economic impacts for local and regional farmers and improve the health and well-being of our nation’s children. But how can we measure these changes to document these positive impacts? Hear from seasoned farm to school evaluators to learn best practices for evaluating your farm to school efforts.
Presentation slides

 
Tying it All Together and Digging In: May 26, 1:00 PM

Join us for a healthy dose of motivation! Deborah Kane, Director of USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems, will hit the highlights by showing how local procurement fits into the larger farm to school picture and share several resources to help you meet your local purchasing goals.
Presentation materials coming soon.


USDA Farm to School Webinar Series: Finding, Buying and Serving Local Foods  Minimize 
Introduction to Procurement, originally recorded on Jan. 9, 2014

Christina Conell and Maggie Gosselin from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, cover basic procurement fundamentals relevant to the Federal Child Nutrition Programs. Topics include informal and formal procurement methods and maintaining competition.
Webinar Slides
Additional Resources

Conducting a Local Procurement Baseline Assessment, originally recorded on Jan. 23, 2014

Maggie Gosselin from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service discusses ways to define local, determine what local products you are already purchasing and track local purchases in the future. This session showcases stories and tips from Page County Public Schools in Virginia and Oakland Unified Public Schools in California.
Webinar slides
Additional Resources


Finding Local Producers, originally recorded on Feb. 13, 2014

Christina Conell, from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, discusses the variety of ways that schools can connect with local farmers, ranchers and other food businesses. The webinar covers online connection tools, requests for information, the role of state farm to school coordinators and state departments of agriculture, and USDA resources such as the Farm Service Agency's field offices and Cooperative Extension resources. Guest speakers from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University and a Michigan farm share their tips for connecting with producers.
Webinar slides
Additional Resources


Using the Informal Procurement Method, originally recorded on Feb. 27, 2014

Christina Conell from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service discusses how schools can purchase local products using the informal method. The session also showcases stories and tips from Union Public Schools in Oklahoma and Kalispell Public Schools in Montana.
Webinar slides
Additional Resources


Using Specifications to Target Local Products, originally recorded on March 13, 2014

Christina Conell, from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service discusses how schools can purchase local products by using product specifications, vendor requirements and evaluation criteria. 
Webinar Slides 
Additional Resources

Working with Distributors, originally recorded on March 27, 2014

USDA's Farm to School Team discusses how schools can purchase local products through distributors. A food service director from Tennessee and a farm to school coordinator from Georgia share how they've been able to work with distributors to buy local foods.
Webinar slides
Additional Resources


Using a Forward Contract, originally recorded on April 10, 2014

USDA's Farm to School Program team discusses the different ways schools may choose to use a forward contract when purchasing local foods. Megan Kemple with Willamette Farm & Food Coalition in Oregon also presents on how she has successfully used forward contracts to buy local products.
Webinar slides
Additional Resources


Introduction to Geographic Preference, originally recorded on April 24, 2014

The USDA Farm to School Program team introduces the geographic preference option, explains when it can be used and offers a few examples for how a school might use geographic preference.
Webinar slides

Additional Resources


Using Geographic Preference, originally recorded on May 8, 2014

This webinar offers a review of the geographic preference option and provides an in-depth look at how three districts are using geographic preference.
Webinar Slides
Using Geographic Preference in Four Steps
 
Sample Geographic Preference Language


Using USDA Foods as Resource to Purchase Local
, originally recorded on May 22, 2014

The USDA Farm to School Program team discusses the history of the USDA Foods Program and the four ways it can support school districts in their purchasing efforts. The Vermont Agency of Education also shares how they utilize the program to support local purchasing.
Webinar slides
Additional Resources


Using DoD Fresh to Purchase Local, originally recorded on June 12, 2014

This webinar focuses on the Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (DoD Fresh), beginning with an overview of how the program works and a few examples of states and districts that are augmenting their farm to school efforts with produce ordered through DoD Fresh. Then, the Texas Department of Agriculture shares how they have successfully worked with DoD Fresh vendors to create a Texas Farm to School calendar and offer Texas-grown products throughout the year.
Webinar slides
Additional Resources


Tying it all Together
, originally recorded on June 26, 2014

During the last webinar in the twelve-part series, the USDA Farm to School Program offers a speedy recap of the variety of ways districts can purchase local foods, and talks through an example of how one district is tying it all together with a comprehensive local purchasing program. Deborah Kane, the National Director of USDA's Farm to School Program, wraps up the webinar by explaining how local procurement fits into the larger farm to school picture and shares several resources that are available to help you meet local purchasing goals.
Webinar slides
Additional Resources


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:  
mail: 
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.

© 2017 Texas Department of Agriculture