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Extension > Farm to School in Minnesota

Monday, March 12, 2018

Greetings!


The first day of spring is just a week away. We are experiencing longer days and the warmth of the sun. Before we know it, the first spears of asparagus will be popping up through the soil.

Core Elements of Farm to School

We hope to see many of you in Cincinnati next month at the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference (more info below). And we hope you enjoy this latest issue of Farm to School in Minnesota. If you have ideas for the next issue of this newsletter or have questions about farm to school efforts in general, contact us any time at farmtoschool@umn.edu.

All our best,
Minnesota’s Farm to School Leadership Team

Family and Consumer Science Frameworks adds farm to table standards and benchmarks

Contributed by Maxine Peterson, Minnesota Department of Education

This summer, the Minnesota 2015 Family and Consumer Science (FACS) Frameworks for middle and high school FACS teachers added farm to table standards and benchmarks. The addition was due to collaboration with The Good Acre, Minnesota School Garden Coalition, Minnesota’s Farm to School Leadership Team, and FACS teachers who have implemented farm to table curriculum in recent years.

The updates in the Fundamentals of Food Preparation section of the curriculum address where food comes from, farm to table food systems, and local food access, including discussion of school gardens and food justice. The Frameworks in the Global Foods section of the curriculum addresses food systems, food sustainability, and technology on an international scale. View the Minnesota Family and Consumer Sciences Frameworks here or on the Minnesota Department of Education website for more detail on scope, sequence, and benchmarks. Contact Maxine Peterson, FACS education specialist, for more information: mailto:maxine.peterson@state.mn.us.

Growing policy support for farm to school

Contributed by Erin McKee, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Students from St. Paul Public Schools enjoy a Farm to School recipe taste test!
Students from St. Paul Public Schools enjoy a Farm to School recipe taste test!

With the start of the 2018 Minnesota legislative session three weeks ago, farm to school and early care advocates are thinking once again of how state policy could support these initiatives across our state. Right now, Minnesota is in the minority of states that do not have official policy explicitly supporting farm to school and early-care efforts. See the State Farm to School Legislative Survey 2002-2017 for details.

While farm to school practices in our state have increased over the past decade, the lack of state policy is preventing these efforts from reaching their full potential to support Minnesota farmers and schools in providing more fresh, healthy Minnesota-grown food to all students. Farm to school policy will provide the statewide consistency, stability and support to ensure the future success of these efforts.

The sustainability of farm to school and early care practices depends on the success of all parties involved, particularly farmers, schools, and early care nutrition services. With this in mind, the stakeholder group working to move this policy effort forward has identified three policy priorities:
  1. Maintain the successful farm to school grant in the Minnesota Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Program.
  2. Reimburse sponsors of USDA child nutrition programs (school districts and early care environments) on average 5 cents per meal for the purchase of Minnesota-grown unprocessed or minimally processed food.
  3. Fund two outreach educators and one technical specialist in Extension to provide research-based education and technical assistance to Minnesota’s farmers interested in selling their products to Minnesota schools. Focus this effort on beginning, specialty crop, and small- to mid-sized producers.
If you are interested in getting involved, please sign up here! Although this is a bonding year, there is plenty of work to be done to get new funding in the next biennium. Join us in the effort to support farm to school and early care programs that are good for farmers, good for kids, and good for our communities.

Save the date for summer agriculture tours

Contributed by Sue Knott, Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Participants in the 2017 Minnesota Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Tour explore Untiedts vegetable farm near Waverly.
Join Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom for an in-the-field learning experience — sign up for a summer teacher tour! Three unique tours will allow educators to get a first-hand look into the food, fiber and fuel systems that keep Minnesota going. Take the opportunity to grow your agricultural experiences and share resources and ideas with other K-12 teachers.
Here's a list of upcoming tours:
  • Buzzing with Agriculture Literacy Tour, June 20, Chanhassen. Tour stops include Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Gale Woods Farm, and Roots Return Heritage Farm.
  • Agriculture Research and Innovation: Northern Minnesota Tour, July 12, Grand Rapids. Tour stops include North Central Research and Outreach Center, and Portage Brewing Company.
  •  Many Faces of Agriculture: Southwest Minnesota Tour, July 26-27, Fairmont. Tour stops include Round Lake Winery, AgCo – Ag Equipment Manufacturer, Minnesota Soybean Processors, family operated hog farm, corn and soybean farm, Center Creek Orchard.
See, smell, hear, touch and taste the agricultural processes, foods and natural resources that sustain us, while earning CEUs and graduate credits. Visit the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom website for more details and to register.

Participants in the 2016 Minnesota Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Tour visit Urban Organics in St. Paul
Participants in the 2016 Minnesota Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Tour visit Urban Organics in St. Paul

Did you know?

A new Farm to School and Early Care Success video tells you all about Minnesota's farm to school and early care programs. Check it out now!

Upcoming Events

Food Policy Reception
4 to 6 p.m. Monday, March 26
“Vault” room in the basement of the Minnesota State Capitol Building

Join the Good Food Access Campaign, Farm to School & Early Care and the Minnesota School Nutrition Association (MSNA) to create a space for legislators to learn about complimentary food policies impacting the well-being of Minnesotans, particularly our youth. RSVP for the reception!

Minnesota School Garden Coalition Quarterly Gathering
4 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 24
Humboldt High School, 30 East Baker Street, Saint Paul, MN 55107

This gathering features a tour of the Humboldt School Garden, with a focus on seed-starting activities for students. Please RSVP to mnsgcoalition@gmail.com to register and receive updates on any changes.


9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 25-27 in Cincinnati, Ohio
Learn more and register for the conference.

9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference April 25-27 in Cincinnati, Ohio

Save the date

October is Farm to School Month. Get ready to crunch into Minnesota grown apples on Thursday, October 11!
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