December 2017
Meet the New Farm Fresh Specialist

The TDA Farm Fresh Initiative welcomes our new Farm Fresh Specialist, Beatrice Watson. Beatrice supports farm to summer and farm to child care efforts at the TDA. She also continues to foster and grow the Farm Fresh Network.
Beatrice holds a Bachelor's of Science in Public Health Education and Promotion from the University of Arizona. Beatrice brings with her 17 years of experience in public health administration, health and nutrition education, program development and community capacity building. Her experience includes working as a WIC High-risk Nutritionist, Community Nutrition Program Coordinator, School Health Liaison and, most recently, a Grant Coordinator at Texas Health and Human Services Commission. She has spent much of her career championing coordinated school health, helping to address preventable chronic disease, childhood obesity, and food insecurities. Her passion lies in working to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities, which lines up nicely with the mission, vision and values of the TDA Food and Nutrition Division.
When out of the office, you can find Beatrice spending time with her husband and children exploring our beautiful Lone Star State. They enjoy kayaking, hiking, swimming, sports, farmers markets, festivals, and live music. She taps into her creative side by crafting DIY home décor projects, and upcycling - turning trash into treasure. Beatrice and her family serve in the garden ministry at their church and find great joy in helping plant and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables to stock the church food pantry. Beatrice also takes pride in her home garden, her homemade salsa, healthy home-cooking and hosting gatherings for friends and family.
Welcome aboard, Beatrice!

Farm to School Spotlight
Helpful Resources to Prepare for Bid Season
Spring means procurement season. As you start to get organized for upcoming bid requests and proposals, make sure you refresh yourself and your team on good local procurement practices. TDA and USDA have many resources to help this be your most successful procurement yet.
The Farm Fresh Network's more than 80 members have connected with TDA to show their interest in selling directly to schools. Find seasonal produce availability and contact information on the interactive map.
USDA expressly grants the authority for entities participating in child nutrition programs to define local, as long as procurement guidelines are followed. This tool will walk you through two questions that may help to identify a definition of local based on program goals.
U.S. Grade Standards provide uniform language for describing the quality and condition of commodities in the marketplace. Selecting more flexible produce standards may open the door for additional Texas producers to be responsive and responsible vendors.
This USDA guide covers the basics of procurement, plus the guide provides sample solicitation language, detailed geographic preference examples and helpful resources.
For more USDA and TDA resources visit our Tools for Schools page on .

Farm to Child Care Spotlight
 From Garden to Plate in 5-weeks!
Only five weeks after starting the garden at The Boys and Girls Club of Mendard participants were able to enjoy a salad made from lettuce and chard they'd grown!
The Boys and Girls Club of Menard grew all of their lettuce in a tower garden. Vertical space, aeroponics, and grow lights make it possible for a tower garden to grow produce all year long. Aeroponics is a growing method that uses water and nutrients and no dirt. This process requires up to 90-percent less water than normal gardening and grows produce in four to six weeks. This makes tower gardens a great way for young children to see the entire growing process and get involved.
The tower garden at The Boys and Girls Club of Menard was made possible through a donation through nutrition company Juice Plus+.

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.