September 2018
Farm Fresh Spotlight Story
Family Participation Vital to Reaching New Levels for Farm to School Programming
 

When the whole family takes an interest in farm to school programs it is good for children and communities. Many farm to school programs start with small grassroots efforts that are built up one project at a time and family participation adds strength and sustainability. TDA provides resources that can help encourage this kind of leadership outside of the school to start up a local Farm Fresh Initiative.

Parent Involvement Guide: This one-page resource is available in English and Spanish and it walks parents and family members through a simple 3-step process to get involved in nutrition programs and support local purchasing efforts for nutritional education.

Farm to School Planning Guide: This guide helps to take the learning one step further and expands on the recommendations provided in the Parent Involvement Guide. It provides a blueprint and extensive information for family members interested in supporting the creation of a robust Farm Fresh program in a K-12 setting.
 
Making the Farm Fresh Choice Video: On the fence about the economic, nutritional, and educational benefits of the Farm Fresh Initiative? Watch this 2-minute video and you will have a fresh new perspective.

Upcoming Special Events You Don't Want to Miss!

Farm Fresh is taking over the Texas Department of Agriculture Facebook on select Fridays in September and October. Click here to turn on post notifications so you don't miss a thing.

9/28/18- Producer spotlight and a special Jump with Jill Live Performance

10/12/18- The launch of an all seasons cookbook for federal nutrition programs

10/26/18- Live Q&A between TDA Assistant Commissioner Angela Olige and a child nutrition director from Central Texas.

Farm to School Spotlight
Farm Fresh Fridays
Registration open for 2018 Farm Fresh Challenge

Last Call to Register for the Farm Fresh Challenge

Eat Local. 
Teach Local. Be Social.

During October 2018, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is hosting the annual  Farm Fresh Challenge  (formerly known as the Local Products Challenge). It is open to all TDA contracting entities (CE) in the National School Lunch Program and provides 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. For more information and to pledge participation, visit Squaremeals.org/FarmFreshChallenge .


New! Downloadable Resources Support the Farm Fresh Challenge at Any Program
Simple rewards for participating children make any special event more fun and memorable. TDA now publishes print-ready files and print specs for the "I Tried Local" suite of resources that includes stickers, buttons and static clings. Take the print specs to a local print shop to print your resources right away. Print shops may need up to 10-days to turn around this request. Download all available resources at Squaremeals.org/FarmFreshChallenge

Farm to Child Care Spotlight
New! Trending Topics Webinar: Results from the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey
Thursday, October 11, 1-2 p.m. CST

 
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN), in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, launched the 2018 National Survey of Early Care and Education Providers in the spring of 2018. Over 2,000 early care providers from across the country responded and shared information about current farm to ECE initiatives, motivations for participation, challenges to starting or expanding farm to early care, and more.

Join the National Farm to School Network and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems to hear about the survey findings and learn about how you can use the results to promote Farm Fresh in child care centers across the state.
This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.


Producer Spotlight
Farm Fresh Friday Takeovers Highlights Producers 9/28/18

Click Here to Follow Along!

The Farm Fresh Team is taking over Facebook on select Fridays this September and October. Tune in for a special producer spotlight on 9/28/18. We'll be sharing some special content provided by some of the producers that are doing the hard work growing food to sell to schools. Don't miss a post this September!
If you would like to see your food company featured during this takeover, send high quality images and a short statement about why connecting students to Texas agriculture matters to FarmFresh@TexasAgriculture.gov by 9/14/18.
Contact TDA
Emilee Case
Coordinator for Farm Fresh Projects

Beatrice Watson
Farm Fresh Specialist

Email us or call
(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!

Texas Farm Fresh Network
Use this tool to connect with Texas food companies that currently sell or are interested in selling to schools, child care centers and summer meal programs. Company listings include contact information, product availability and distribution radius.
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.