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Sprouting policies and partnerships

June 2019: new state policy, community benefit dollars, new support at Dept of Ed, Summer Teacher tour and more

Good morning fellow farm to school fans,

Waking up to the sound of birds singing is such a delight. We hope you are enjoying this change of seasons and that your taste buds are enjoying all that June has to offer.

This newsletter celebrates a new state policy, highlights incredible partnerships in Duluth and features resources from our Department of Education and Agriculture.

Take a few minutes to enjoy!
Minnesota’s Farm to School Leadership Team
Recent posts

Minnesota legislature invests in farm to school

Last month, the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives passed the Omnibus Agriculture Policy Bill which includes dedicated funding and support for Farm to School and Early Care initiatives across the state. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and a broad coalition of partners, including many of you, worked to support this policy that will expand access to fresh, local and healthy foods for Minnesota students and new, stable markets for Minnesota farmers.

The conference committee dedicated up to $400,000 within the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) program for Farm to School initiatives. For the first time, this funding may be used to pilot a reimbursement program for school districts and early care providers to encourage the purchasing of local foods. The Omnibus Agriculture Policy Bill also supports the creation of a marketing position, whose responsibilities will include helping farmers and school districts build relationships and begin wor…

Farm to School is growing in Duluth

Contributed by: Renee Willemsen, Duluth Farm to School Coordinator
Renee Willemsen with students from Duluth learning about vegetables.

The Three C’s, Cafeteria, Classrooms & Community is definitely a pinnacle guiding point for Duluth Farm to School, with Community Collaborations playing a huge factor. Duluth District was one of the collaborating partners in a USDA Farm to School Grant in which the Carlton-Cook-Lake-St. Louis County Community Health Board received $99,750 to “advance farm to school policy, systems, and environmental change in the region through district-to-district and Wolf Ridge ELC collaboration in 2015.” As the grant was ending, Duluth Farm to School was looking for sustainable programming sources.

Working with public health practitioners, a case was built for using community benefit dollars to fund a part-time farm to school coordinator position along with some supply, travel, and professional development funds. Section 9007 of the Affordable Care Act requires …

New Farm to School resources available through MDE

Contributed by: Sami Burington, Minnesota Department of Education
The Minnesota Department of Education [MDE] Nutrition, Health and Youth Development division strives to improve student health and link nutrition to life-long learning – farm to school initiatives contribute to both of these areas. Therefore, along with support from the Farm to School Leadership Team, MDE now has dedicated staff time to support farm to school efforts across Minnesota. Is your school or community looking for support for farm to school in any of the following ways? Increase local foods used in school nutrition programs; and/otImplement educational activities related to agriculture, food, health and nutrition; and/orEngage students in hands-on, experiential learning through gardening; and/or Need additional support or resources to keep farm to school initiatives growing in your area.

If so, contact Sami Burington, MDE Nutrition Program Consultant, at Samantha.Burington@state.mn.us or 651-582-8376.

Follow Your Food Summer Teacher Tour

Contributed by: Sue Knott, Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Program

The Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC) Program is excited to offer a Summer Teacher Tour that follows Minnesota grown fruits and vegetables from farm to fork! Tour participants will get first-hand experience with produce production at [read more] Riverside Farms in Elk River. Next they will follow the fruits and veggies to a H. Brooks Produce processing facility to see how the produce is washed and cut. The final stop will be the Hopkins School District where students and educators enjoy these fresh fruits and vegetables! Participants will also receive professional development on mobile (phone/tablet) video production. Dr. Troy McKay, Digital Medial Instructor at the University of Minnesota, will provide equipment, training and guidance to educators to record, edit and produce a digital story of their experience on this tour. The skills and information learned will be easily transferrable to K-12…