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Mahadsanid. Ua tsaug. Gracias. Shukran. Ta bluh doh mah. Xiexie. Thank you.

This season is often a time to reflect and express gratitude. We are grateful to the 359 of you who support farm to school and early care and education efforts across Minnesota. This work takes time and persistence and continues to grow through strengthened relationships with one another. Will you help grow this network by asking your friends, partners and colleagues to join us?

In this newsletter, you will learn about Breckenridge’s Chef Moves to Schools initiative, Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) “Year of Food,” open grants and upcoming conferences.

If there is anything you’d like to learn about in a future newsletter or would like to share your story, please email us at farmtoschool@umn.edu .

Warm wishes,

Minnesota’s Farm to School Leadership Team
Recent posts

Minnesota Thursdays and “Chefs Move to Schools”

Contributed by: Megan LeClair, Minnesota Department of Education and Karensa Tischer, PartnerSHIP4Health For many school nutrition professionals, finding time away from daily work to attend trainings is difficult. However, training is necessary to prepare nutritious foods with limited labor hours. Steph Beyer, Breckenridge School’s Food Service Director, says “Finding healthy foods that are easy to prepare and that kids will eat is one of my biggest challenges.”

To overcome the challenge of scheduling and finding substitutes, Karensa Tischer, Dietitian for PartnerSHIP4Health (PS4H), connected Steph with Kyle Armitage, chef at the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) Culinary Arts Department, to bring a national initiative, “Chefs Move to School” to Breckenridge High School. This partnership formed two years ago and is based on the Let’s Move Initiative. Since then, Chef Kyle has brought his culinary student chefs into the high school kitchen for three different hands-on culina…

FCS “Year of Food” call for proposals

Contributed by: Maxine Peterson, Minnesota Department of Education
Family and Consumer Science (FCS) teachers will be engaged with various training and learning
opportunities in 2019 which focus on the Food, Culinary and Farm to School FCS Frameworks. Culinary boot camps, the 2nd annual FCS Summer Career Pathways Institute on Thursday June, 20th at St. Paul College and the Minnesota Association of Family and Consumer Science (MAFCS) conference on February 4-5 at MDE will provide professional development opportunities for middle and high school FCS teachers.

The conference committee is looking for individuals who would like to present information to help FCS teachers with resources to embed the new Farm to School Frameworks implemented in 2017. The committee is looking for breakouts, panel presentations or possible keynotes on the origins of food, school gardens (in the classroom and at school sites), food systems, food access, clean labeling, partnerships with farmers and other busi…

Grants available to encourage urban youth agricultural education

Contributed by: Erin Connell, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now accepting applications for the Urban Agriculture grant, which is funded by the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) program. The MDA expects to award up to $250,000 to eligible applicants for equipment purchases and dedicated staff/contractor time that will stimulate urban youth agricultural education and/or urban agriculture community development. [Read more]

“It is important that we reach out to our youth about agriculture, particularly in our urban areas,” said Minnesota Agriculture Deputy Commissioner Andrea Vaubel. “Since there is flexibility in how the AGRI Urban Agriculture grants can be used, there are a variety of options available to teach our urban youth and apply that knowledge in their communities.”

Funded during the first ever round of the AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program, Lakeville Elementary School of the Robbinsdale School Distric…

Specialty Crop Block Grants will be available soon

Contributed by: Ashley Bress, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will soon be accepting applications for Specialty Crop Block Grants. Grants are intended to increase the competitiveness of specialty crops, including fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, tree nuts, and horticulture and nursery crops. One of this year’s priorities is increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops—a perfect fit for Farm to School!


Non-profit and producer organizations, government agencies, universities, and other agricultural groups are encouraged to apply. Minnesota-based organizations like The Good Acre, Renewing the Countryside, and Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy have received grants in the past to support Farm to School efforts in the state.

Funding for the Specialty Crop Block Grant program comes from the United States Department of Agriculture and can only be used for the promotion of specialty crops. More…