January 2017
National Farm to School Network (NFSN)
Seeks Core Partner Organizations

NFSN is now accepting applications from organizations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. Territories to serve as NFSN Core Partners for 2017-2019. This represents the next phase education growth and evolution for farm to school and farm to early care. Organizations and agencies interested in, and capable of contributing to the advancement of farm to school and early care and education (ECE) are encouraged to apply.

Applications are due January 26, 2017.

Learn more and apply at
www.FarmtoSchool.org/RFA .
Farm Fresh Spotlights
USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) publishes report from Local Food Marketing Survey
Report shows 80 percent of all direct market food sales occurred within 100 miles of the farm

USDA-NASS has released a report with results from the inaugural Local Food Marketing Practices Survey, with information about fresh and value-added foods, like meat and cheese. In 2015, more than 167,000 U.S. farms sold food through direct marketing practices, resulting in $8.7 billion in revenue. Texas ranked 6th among states with the largest amount of direct farm sales, with $357 million.
Learn more about the survey data on this Highlight Report or read full data results here .

New school garden study results published
In a newly published University of Maryland study of D.C. school gardens, researchers tracked significant differences in fifth-grade test results between students with gardens and those without. Results indicate a higher percentage of students tested proficient or advanced in reading, math and science at campuses with garden-based learning, compared to students at campuses without garden-based learning. 

Report released from School Meal Approaches, Resources, and Trends (SMART) Study
The Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a joint initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently released findings from its School Meal Approaches, Resources, and Trends (SMART) Study, a national survey of 489 school nutrition directors. The report, School Meal Programs Innovate to Improve Student Nutrition, identifies approaches that have attracted children to school meals and improved their consumption of healthy options since passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The report shows that school meal programs have made great progress in getting students to eat healthy foods and many see few or no remaining challenges to implementing updated breakfast and lunch nutrition standards.

Farm to Child Care Spotlight
North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network releases new Farm to Child Care resource

Reach for the Stars with Farm to Preschool aligns the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) with farm to preschool. ECERS is a rating scale developed in North Carolina that is designed to assess process quality in early childhood settings. This Web based tool contains curriculum ideas and key indicators to support edible gardening for preschoolers, field trips to the farm/ farmers market and taste testing local foods.  

Farm to Summer Spotlight
USDA Introduces new Summer Food Service Program toolkit

Summer Food, Summer Moves is a fun, hands-on resource kit designed to get kids and families excited about healthy eating and physical activity. This resource is available online or in print for schools, child care providers and summer meal programs participating in one of USDA's Child Nutrition programs. Use USDA's online resource order form and allow 2-4 weeks for delivery. New recipes, posters, flyers, and activity guides can all be found inside! 

Contact TDA
Alyssa Herold
Coordinator for Farm Fresh Initiatives
Emilee Feldhausen
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.