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Showing posts from September, 2019

New funding and people bring new energy!

September 2019: Celebrate farm to school month, apply for a grant, school gardens GROW, new Extension positions and more Hello Farm to School supporters! The start of a new school year brings new energy and life to many. Right now, we are gearing up for Farm to School Month in October. Read on to learn how you can be a part of the celebration and don’t miss learning about the amazing work underway at St. Paul Public Schools, how to sample safely from the school garden, engage with a new Horticulture team in Extension and secure new funding to grow your farm to school and early and education work! If you’d like to contribute to a future quarterly newsletter, we’d love that! Share your ideas by emailing: Minnesota’s Farm to School Leadership Team

Celebrate Farm to School Month!

Participate in Minnesota Thursdays (October 3) and the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch (October 10). Register by Sept 30 to receive FREE Crunch stickers and a chance to have Minnesota Timberwolves Mascot Crunch lead your crunch in person! Register  her e

Apply for a grant by Nov 7th!

MDA is accepting applications for the AGRI Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education Grants to increase the use of Minnesota grown and raised foods through planning and feasibility studies, or equipment purchases and physical improvements. Learn more

School gardens GROW in Saint Paul Public Schools

Contributed by: Jill Westlund, Saint Paul Public Schools Students at Murray Middle School in Saint Paul sharing their harvest in the cafeteria Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) is thrilled to announce that they were awarded a $100,000 USDA Farm to School implementation grant for the “Grow Our Own” project for school gardens! “Grow Our Own”, or GROW, is a project that connects school gardens to classrooms, cafeteria and community. SPPS and Youth Farm, an organization that uses food as a tool for youth development opportunities via urban agriculture and cooking classes, have partnered to increase food & ag educational opportunities. A recent grant from the Cargill Foundation allows this team to work with a third partner, Renewing the Countryside (RTC), to incorporate early childhood exposure to school gardens and farm to table activities. The funding from USDA will support this project in two critical ways. First, the project will provide funds to individual schools t

Meet the Extension horticulture team

Contributed by: Natalie Hoidal, University of Minnesota Extension The University of Minnesota Extension has created four new positions in horticulture over the past two years. These educators work together to support fruit and vegetable producers in topics ranging from food safety to soil health to integrated pest management and more.  If your organization works directly with farmers, please help spread the word that these educators are available for technical assistance. Extension educator, Annalisa Hultberg and farmer, Becca Carlson of Seeds Farm connect in the field. Annalisa Hultberg is a statewide Extension Educator focusing on on-farm food safety education, outreach and research related to Good Agricultural Practices, or GAPs, with fruit and vegetable producers around the state. She is the state lead for the trainings and education around the new federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule for fruit and vegetable farmers. She also enjoys helping

Safe Sampling in School Gardens

Contributed by: Anne Sawyer, University of Minnesota Extension Eating fresh fruits and vegetables from the school garden can be a life-changing experience for students. School gardens provide opportunities to learn about nutrition and healthy lifestyles, local food systems, and environmental stewardship. We can also use school gardens to teach basic food safety practices and help students establish a lifetime of healthy habits. Youth + gardens = winning! Photo: U of M Extension However, raw produce can contain harmful microbes such as Salmonella or certain types of E. coli that can make people very sick. Those who are young, old, pregnant and/or have weakened immune systems are at increased risk of severe illness or even death from foodborne illness. We must do our best to reduce the risk of contamination in fresh produce, particularly when growing food for other people. Here, we'll talk about some simple guidelines for harvesting and preparing fresh produce for s