February 2018
Introducing TDA's Farm Fresh Challenge

Eat Local. Teach Local. Be Social.

This is a landmark year for the Texas Department of Agriculture's (TDA) Farm Fresh Challenge. Launched as the Local Products Challenge in 2013, the annual event has helped schools introduce millions of Texas students to local products and agricultural producers.

The 2018 Farm Fresh Challenge will feature enhancements including:
  • New challenge levels for participating schools
  • Expanded participation option for sponsors in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
  • Pilot Farm Fresh challenge in the Houston area for Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP) sponsors

School, Summer and Child and Adult Care sponsors can access TDA resources and will receive recognition for their participation in this annual challenge.  Challenge criteria and the participation pledge for schools and summer sponsors can be accessed now on the new Farm Fresh Challenge Web pages .

Last year, Texas schools' participation in TDA's Local Products Challenge soared with more than 175 National School Lunch Program contracting entities (CE) taking the challenge. Nearly 50% of participants earned Best of the Bunch recognition for their efforts to bring local foods and agricultural education to around 2 million students in Texas.

Check out these impressive findings from the survey of 2017's challenge participants:
  • 86% of survey respondents indicated they plan to keep using local products in their menus.
  • 70% reported it was somewhat easy to very easy to incorporate local products into their menus.
  • 94% reported no increase in labor costs during the challenge.
  • 67% reported no increase in food costs during the challenge.
  • 56% used newly discovered ingredients.

Farm to Summer Spotlight
Eat Local.Teach Local. Be Social.

TDA to bring the Farm Fresh Challenge to SFSP

Sponsors statewide will be able to participate during the summer challenge period from June 11 - June 22, 2018.
SFSP sponsors earn Farm Fresh Challenge recognition for taking steps to connect participants to local foods and education. For more information about the challenge for Summer Food Programs visit the new Farm Fresh Challenge Web pages.

Farm Fresh at the 2018 TDA SFSP Conference
The Farm Fresh team is gearing up for the 5th annual Summer Food Service Program Conference. There are multiple opportunities to engage with us at this year's conference. Attend the Farm to Summer session (1:30-2:30 2/27/18) with expert panelists to learn about what they do to boost participation and connect participants to Texas agriculture through local foods and family engagement. Or, come meet us at the Farm Fresh booth to learn more about the new Farm Fresh Challenge!  

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.