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Showing posts from September, 2018

Celebrate Farm to School Month this October!

October is National Farm to School Month! This is a time to recognize the importance of farm to school practices and to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between schools and local food. The Farm to School Leadership Team is excited to support two statewide events: Minnesota Thursdays (October 4) and the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch (October 11). We hope you will celebrate with us! To register for these events, go to z.umn.edu/f2smonth.

In this newsletter, you will learn about applying for a grant, the Hmong American Farmers Association (you won’t want to miss the video at the end), Fridley Public School’s partnership with the Good Acre, and the new MN blueprint for agriculture education.
Cheers,
Minnesota’s Farm to School Leadership Team

Grants available to expand locally grown food in schools, early care organizations

Contributed by: Ashley Bress and Lisa Sawyer, Minnesota Department of Agriculture 

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now taking applications for the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) ‘Farm to School’ and ‘Farm to Early Care and Education’ Grants. The MDA will award up to $377,500 to eligible institutions to increase the use of Minnesota grown foods through either planning and feasibility studies or equipment purchases and physical improvements.

“These grants serve two purposes: we are able to invest in schools and early care and education organizations and we can expand markets that support local farmers,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “Communities across Minnesota are better off thanks to these AGRI grants and the opportunities they create.”

In previous grant rounds, the highly competitive AGRI Farm to School Grants helped grantees purchase food processors, cooling and storage equipment, and specialized ovens to make it eas…

Minnesota farmers put the “farm” in farm to school

Contributed by: Sue Knotts, Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom 

Let’s meet a group of farmers that are actively connecting with schools and early care sites to encourage lifelong healthy eating habits. The Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) Farm is part farm, part educational institution. Its members are Hmong immigrants from Laos and Thailand. HAFA’s members (farmers) grow over 160 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Depending on the season, you can find watermelon, ground cherries, and cantaloupe, as well as asparagus, green onions, spinach, and bell peppers growing on the farm. All of the crops are grown using sustainable practices and low-mechanized techniques. HAFA Farmers are trained in Good Agricultural Practices and hold food safety practice at the utmost value.

The Hmong culture is deeply rooted in agriculture. Many families farmed in Laos and Thailand for the purpose of feeding their families and as a source of their livelihood. Upon immigrating to the US, a major…

What’s squash?

Contributed by: Maggie Maggio and Maria Anderson, Fridley Public Schools

This year is the third year Fridley Public School is partnering with The Good Acre to provide students with locally-sourced produce. Delicata squash, a vegetable many students were not familiar with, was one of the farm to school vegetables added to the menu during the 2017-2018 school year. As delicata squash was menued monthly, students became more familiar with it, and delicata quickly became a student favorite across all schools.

One of the great aspects of buying from The Good Acre is the initial training and recipes they provide. Staff received culinary instruction on delicata squash at The Good Acre sponsored by Anoka County SHIP. The staff at The Good Acre taught knife skills and proper roasting techniques. They also provided recipes for Fridley Public Schools staff to bring back to their kitchens.

While marketing materials were available, students were still unfamiliar with squash. However, their intere…

Blueprint aligns with farm to school goals

Contributed by: Sarah Dornink, MN Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC)

Last spring, the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC) released the 2025 Minnesota Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource (AFNR) Education Blueprint. The Blueprint, created through feedback from nearly 250 individuals, outlines specific goals, strategies, and indicators of success for each AFNR sector over the next seven years. The five AFNR sectors covered include: agricultural literacy, school-based AFNR education, post-secondary AFNR education, teacher preparation in Agricultural Education, and Farm Business Management (FBM).

So what did we learn?  Overall, the Blueprint reinforced the progress MAELC is making towards promoting and expanding agricultural education for the state. It also highlighted four important priorities including:
increasing the quality of instruction, increasing the number of individuals involved in AFNR education, improving the understanding of AFNR system…

Get Ready to CRUNCH

Help us reach 260,000 Minnesota Crunches in 2018. As of today, Minnesota has 75,813 registered crunchers. Register by October 2 to receive FREE Crunch stickers and a chance to have Minnesota Timberwolves Mascot Crunch lead your crunch in person! Register here

Food, Ag, Ideas Week (Oct 8-12)

Food, Ag, Ideas Week is 5 days of individually ticketed events and experiences to drive connectivity and visibility to Minnesota's growing entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem for food and agriculture, including a Reimagining School Nutrition panel.
Learn more