October 2016
Celebrate the Fall Harvest!

This is the time of year when temperatures start to drop and leaves start to fall, at least in some parts of the country, but it is still hot in much of the Lone Star State. While folks in other states enjoy pumpkin spice lattes and wearing scarves, Texans get to experience a longer growing season.
 
Now is a perfect time to enjoy a fall harvest salad that pairs the best of summer with the crisp taste of fall. Grilled peaches, fresh arugula and basil make for a flavorful combination of fall and summer foods that are both healthy and satisfying.
 
Use TDA's menu planning resource for more recipes that bring the tastes of summer to the plate this fall, and try the interactive online seasonality wheel to learn more about local bounty available each month.

Spotlights of the Month
New Video Describes Importance of Farm to School  
TDA's Farm Fresh Initiative connects young Texans, farmers and ranchers, and community members through local food and nutrition and agricultural educational experiences. This new video - Making the Farm Fresh Choice - helps explain why Farm to School is important.

Feel free to use this as a resource to describe your work and connect others in your community. 


Now accepting applications for Community Engagement VISTA members!

TDA, in partnership with AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will place five Food & Nutrition Community Engagement VISTAs in select rural Texas communities.
 
The Community Engagement VISTAs will work collaboratively within the communities they are placed to accomplish the following:
* Improve Local School Wellness Policies
* Analyze the need for additional summer feeding sites
* Expand access to local foods
*    Increase participation in federal nutrition programs
*    Engage elected officials in local wellness-related efforts

For more information about this opportunity, please visit the Community Engagement VISTA Program Web page.


School is back in session, and that means it's time to nominate talented students at your school for the TDA GROW Award. Throughout the school year, TDA selects a new student winner each month to receive the GROW Award, which Gives Recognition for Outstanding Work. Award recipients will receive an official certificate from Commissioner Miller and special recognition on the TDA website.
 
The GROW Award is a great opportunity for you to help us recognize middle and high school students for their outstanding leadership and excellence inside and outside the classroom. From October to May, Commissioner Miller will honor students for their hard work and dedication to their community. Nominations will be accepted throughout the year, so keep them coming!
 

Funding Opportunities
USDA Farm to School Grant

USDA recently announced that up to $5 million in grant funds is available to help schools create or strengthen existing farm to school programs. Since its inception in FY 2013, more than $20 million has been awarded through the Farm to School Grant Program. This year, awards ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 will be distributed in four different grant categories: Planning, Implementation, Support Service, and Training. Applications are due on grants.gov by December 8, 2016.
 
Go here for more information.

Farm to Child Care Spotlight

TDA has created a new resource for child care centers looking to incorporate the tastes of summer and early fall into their meals.
Use the guide to plan and purchase seasonal items to keep things local and seasonal in the kitchen while following the new meal pattern.
 
TDA's online seasonality wheel  is another great tool centers can use to plan ahead and think seasonally.

 
Oct. 12 at 2:30 p.m. (Central)

Understanding where and how to purchase local foods is just as important as understanding how to incorporate them into recipes and menus. During this webinar, speakers from the National Farm to School Network (NFSN), USDA, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and the Baxter Child Development Center, will share tips for getting started, strategies for success and innovative methods that are advancing and scaling local purchasing practices in early care and education settings across the country.
 
Register here and contact Lacy Stephens ( Lacy@farmtoschool.org ), NFSN Farm to Early Care and Education Associate, with any questions.


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.