Texas Farm Fresh E-Harvest, February 2016 issue
Farm to School: Amplifying Communities Workshops
Are you are school or agricultural producer interested in farm to school? Are you interested in connecting with local schools or farmers that are also interested in farm to school? 

Take the opportunity to attend one of the upcoming farm to school workshops!

Training topics for schools:
* Farm to School introduction
* Maximizing local foods on school menus
* School gardens
* Procurement of Local Foods

Training topics for producers:
* How to sell to schools
* GO TEXAN Program

There will also be dedicated time for peer-to-peer networking.

Workshop schedule:
March 3-4, Austin 
Register here

March 30, Houston
Schools register here

Registration for these workshops will open soon:
April 21, Corpus Christi 
April 27, Kilgore 

Email LocalProducts.SquareMeals@TexasAgriculture.gov with your interest in attending either the Corpus Christi or Kilgore workshop.
Farm to School
New TDA Tool for Texas Food Companies

There are several avenues for selling food products to Texas schools. This tool will help guide companies through two considerations when deciding if school food service is a good marketplace for their products and provide information about how to sell food products to schools.
New USDA Tool Helps Farmers Connect with Resources
USDA has a newly redesigned website to meet the needs of new farmers, women in agriculture, youth, veterans and farms in transition. The site features advice and guidance on important topics for new farm business owners. Topics include writing a business plan, obtaining a loan to grow the business and filing taxes as a new small business owner.

By answering a series of questions about their operation, farmers can use the site's Discovery Tool to build a personalized set of recommendations of USDA programs and services that may meet their needs.
 
Farm to Child Care
Serving Safe Food in Child Care
This webinar series, developed by the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN), focuses on food safety in child care centers and family day care homes. Information is based on Serving Safe Food in Child Care, and provides a four step process for keeping foods served to young children safe.
USDA Farm to Preschool Fact Sheet
This  USDA-developed fact sheet provides an overview of farm to child care and how it can be incorporated at a facility operating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
 
USDA Policy
Fruits and vegetables are often the first farm to school products considered for distribution to schools but many districts and organizations are filling out their meals with local meat products too!  USDA recently released a memo addressing proper procurement and food safety practices for use of local meat, poultry, game meat and eggs in Child Nutrition Programs (memo SP 01-2016, CACFP 01-2016, SFSP 01-2016) .
 
USDA has released an updated guide that covers the basics of procurement. Find out how to define local, where to find local products, and how schools can purchase locally in accordance with regulations. Plus, the guide provides sample solicitation language, detailed geographic preference examples and helpful resources. Download a PDF copy here.

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

Email
(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.
 
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.