The E-Harvest delivers Texas farm fresh information and resources to your inbox.


November 2015

Texas Farm Fresh Network
The Texas Farm Fresh Network is a listing of farmers, ranchers and distributors who are currently selling or interested in selling products to schools and child care centers. Company listings include contact information, product availability and distribution radius. The Web page includes a map of all registered companies.

The network already includes several companies and TDA will reach out to more farmers and ranchers to grow the Network during the next few months. If you are interested in joining the Texas Farm Fresh Network, 
visit TDA’s website today! Or, share this information with a company that may be interested in joining.

8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Call for workshop, poster and lightening talk proposals

Please spread the word about the 2016 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference! The conference theme, Moving Forward Together, lifts up new and innovative partnerships to continue building momentum and ensure long-term sustainability in the movement.

There is great work happening in Texas to improve food systems, strengthen community health, empower youth, build equity and increase opportunities for local farmers. This is an incredible opportunity for you to promote that work! Proposals are being accepted now through December 4th, 2015. Access the Request for Proposals here. Since this is a national conference, NFSN will be looking for proposals that span multiple farm to school sites or incorporate multiple models.

USDA Announces Farm to School Grants
Congratulations to 2 Texas schools and 1 support organization that will receive funding!

Nationally, a total of 74 projects in 39 states will receive nearly $5 million in grant funds. Projects will fund school districts, state and local agencies, tribal nations, agricultural producers and non-profit organizations in their efforts to increase local foods served through child nutrition programs, teach children about food and agriculture through garden and classroom education, and develop schools’ and farmers’ capacities to participate in farm to school. Go here for a complete list of 2016 Farm to School Grant recipients, or read about the grant announcement in this copy of the Nov. 17, 2015 press release.



Farm to School

USDA Farm to School Census Results Released
USDA has released initial census results from the 2014-2015 Farm to School survey. Nationally, census results show:
·        42,173 schools were engaged in farm to school activities as of school year 2014-2015
·        $598 million was invested in local foods; representing a $212 million increase from the previous survey
·        75 percent of respondents engaged in farm to school activities indicated that they experienced at least one of the following benefits:
o   reduced food waste, lower school meal program costs, greater acceptance of the new meal pattern, increased participation, greater community support

There is still time to participate!
USDA is accepting submissions of new data and encouraging districts to correct existing records as necessary through Nov. 20, 2015. Visit USDA’s Census Web page today to review your information or complete the census if you did not previously complete the survey.

Online Farm to School Training Available
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 and will lay the groundwork for future training and discussions about farm to school activities. The training is available online here.


Farm to Child Care


National Survey of Local Procurement, Gardens and Food and Farm Education in Early Care Settings

The National Farm to School Network is currently conducting a survey of early care and education staff and providers to gain a better understanding of current farm to preschool practices as well as barriers and challenges to implementing farm to preschool/early care initiatives.

If you are an early care and education provider, please complete the survey by Friday, November 20. By completing the survey, you will qualify for a drawing to win one of five framed prints of artwork created collaboratively by attendees of the 2012 National Farm to Cafeteria conference and designed by Vermont artist Bonnie Acker.

Follow this link to complete the survey:
www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFSNfarmtopreschool

Please share this survey with staff working in early care and education and providers in your networks. Thank you for your time and assistance in capturing this important information!



New USDA Policy

Procuring Local Meat, Poultry, Game and Eggs
In addition to fruits and vegetables many districts and organizations are including local meat products in meals and farm to school efforts! USDA recently released a memo addressing proper procurement and food safety practices for use of local meat, poultry, game meat and eggs in Child Nutrition Programs. (memo SP 01-2016, CACFP 01-2016, SFSP 01-2016)

Local Foods and Related Activities in Summer Meal Programs

Local foods can play an important role in creating and promoting a healthy environment for children. USDA released this memo with a Q&A section to provide guidance on incorporating local food and nutrition and agriculture-based activities in summer meal programs. (memo SP 07-2016, SFSP 07-2016)

Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs 

USDA has released an updated guide that covers the basics of procurement. Find out how to define local, where to find local products, and how schools can purchase locally in accordance with regulations. Plus, the guide provides sample solicitation language, detailed geographic preference examples and helpful resources.



New Funding Opportunities

Annie's Grant for Gardens
Annie's offers grants for school garden that connect children directly to food. Funds can be used to by gardening tools, seeds or supplies. The deadline to apply is Dec. 4, 2015. Winners will be selected and notified in February 2016.

To learn more about this grant opportunity and submit an application, go here.
 

Contact TDA

Alyssa Herold
Coordinator for Farm Fresh Initiatives

Emilee Feldhausen
Farm Fresh Specialist

Email: LocalProducts.SquareMeals@
TexasAgriculture.gov

Toll Free: (877) TEX-MEAL

Connect with Others

Texas Statewide Network
This LinkedIn Group is an online network connecting schools, child and adult care centers, producers, support organizations and community members with important information about expanding local food efforts in Texas.

Join Today!

Funding Opportunities
Financial support from organizations may help establish or advance local Farm Fresh initiatives. Go here for a list of opportunities from TDA, USDA and other organizations.

Connect with TDA

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Interested in learning more about Texas products?

Sign up for the Go Local. GO TEXAN E-zine today.


This product was funded by USDA. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

 


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