September 2016

Serve Local and Introduce Farm Fresh Fridays to your Students and your Community!

TDA's Farm Fresh Fridays offers campuses fun student engagement using local, healthy food in your cafeteria.

Why Farm Fresh Fridays?

Make local, healthy food FUN for our children.
* The school lunchroom is ideal for teaching children how to eat and enjoy quality, nutritious meals. Educating them and creating good habits early on will benefit them and their families for a lifetime.

Encourage schools and child care centers to serve more locally sourced foods on Fridays (and every day!).
* Purchasing local products benefits students' health and your community. For every $1 a school spends locally, more than $2 of economic activity is generated.

Help farmers and ranchers partner with schools and child care centers to engage with their customers.
* Serving local products reinforces the connection between young Texans and agricultural producers generating increased demand for local products for years to come.

Get involved today - learn more here.
Spotlights of the Month
Texas Partnership for School Health Webinar Series is Back!
 
It's back-to-school and the Texas Partnership for School Health webinar series is back, too! Join Texas Action for Healthy Kids, the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Department of Agriculture, and the Texas Department of State Health Services as a new and improved series of professional development webinars comes your way! Each webinar is 45 minutes, including 15 minutes for Q&A.

Learn from your peers and register now!
Sept. 14 -
Whole Community, Whole School, Whole Child Model in Action
January 11 - Farm to School
 
Please contact Texas Action for Healthy Kids at msmith@actionforhealthykids.org with any questions or for registration assistance.
Funding Opportunities
The Chef Ann Foundation, in partnership with Skoop, is accepting applications for Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools, a program that aims to expand students' palates and encourage increased consumption of and exposure to fresh produce. Grants of up $2,500 will be awarded to school districts for programs that engage students in lunchroom education activities that encourage students to taste new vegetables and fruits offered either in a dish, cooked or raw. Grant funds must be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to support each school's planned Project Produce programming. In addition, the majority of the produce must be locally accessible and at a price point affordable to all households.

Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program is eligible to apply. Applications must be submitted by the school district's food-service director. Districts may apply for up to 10 schools at $2,500 per school. The foundation accepts applications on an ongoing basis. For complete program guidelines and application instructions, go to www.thelunchbox.org/programs/grants.

New Capital For Texas Program Expands Opportunities For Small Businesses in Texas
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has announced a partnership between three Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) - PeopleFund, LiftFund, and Business and Community Lenders (BCL) of Texas - and the agency for the new Capital For Texas (C4T) small business loan program. Through C4T, TDA will work with PeopleFund, LiftFund and BCL of Texas to increase access to capital for small businesses in rural communities and enable private entrepreneurs to make market-driven decisions to grow jobs. C4T was created as a result of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's State Small Business Credit Initiative. This program supports TDA's goals of empowering rural communities to cultivate winning strategies for economic growth by providing financing options to creditworthy small businesses and manufacturers that are not getting the loans they need to expand and create jobs. Loans for the C4T program will range from $5,000 to $350,000, with an average investment of less than $100,000.  Learn more about the program here .

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.