Tag Archives: local produce

Calling all farmers, people who don’t want inner-city farmers markets gentrified, folks who want to bring fresh local foods to city schools/low-income families!

It’s the POLLINATE CONFERENCE January 13  at Worcester State University!

Time is running out …

Registration closes on January 7th!

Reserve your spot today.

Join more 300 other enthusiastic farm to cafeteria advocates from the preschool, K-12, and college sectors for a full day of workshops, networking, cooking demonstrations, and fun. We will have over 20 different workshops including:

Farm to School Policy and Advocacy

Farm to School Curriculum Connections

Waste Reduction, Composting Organics, and School Gardens
Funding Farm to School Programs
On Campus Farming
Farm to Preschool 101
Farm Based Education Initiatives – Urban and Rural Farm Field Trips
Sea to School: Incorporating Local Seafood in School Meals

The conference will also include Farm to Cafeteria Regional Networking Sessions so that you can connect with others in your community who are involved in farm to cafeteria activities.

Learn from their best practices, share your own tips, and move forward together!

We will be holding a concurrent Buyer Tradeshow and Networking Session for Farmers and Distributors. This will be a great opportunity to make direct connections with farmers from your region and discuss local sourcing with distributors.

Registration

Registration closes on January 7th and is filling up quickly as we have a limit of 350 attendees. Discounts are available for students and conference presenters. Please contact us for more information.

Conference Sponsorship Opportunities

Opportunities still exist for conference sponsorship. This conference is made possible by generous support from businesses and organizations that share the values of the farm to cafeteria movement. We expect the conference to attract over 300 individuals from a variety of fields including school and college dining services, farmers, non-profit organization staff, state agency representatives, legislators, school educators and administrators.

We have a number of different conference sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in being a sponsor, please contact us.

For more information and to register, CLICK HERE!

From The Boston Globe: farmers markets and SNAP cards …

I’ve been meaning to post this BOSTON GLOBE editorial for weeks…   –    R.T.

EDITORIAL

Food stamps for fresh food: More produce, more benefits

THE SUPPLEMENTAL Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal food stamp program, has often struggled with the “nutrition” part of its mandate. The problem is that fresh fruits and vegetables are often too expensive for low-income families to afford, especially if they have to rely on benefits for most of their groceries.

The latest farm bill, signed into law earlier this year, offers a simple, innovative solution. The legislation doubles the value of SNAP benefits when they are used to purchase produce bought at local grocery stores or farmers markets who agree to participate.

The program, called the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive, provides $100 million over the next five years in grants to organizations that help make fruit and vegetables more affordable to SNAP recipients. The grant program is focused on encouraging people to buy more produce. …

CLICK HERE to read entire editorial!

Farmers markets in our inner-city that don’t take SNAP or WIC cards, don’t let poor seniors use their farmers market coupons to buy bread ….

… yet they receive non-profit sponsorship $$$  from Harvard Pilgrim health. WTF?!

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LEARN how to counter CLASSISM at FARMERS MARKETS when REC makes a presentation at …

… the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Massachusetts Chapter (NOFA/Mass) 28th Annual Winter Conference, Saturday, January 10.

At Worcester State University, Chandler Street.

Featuring 70 workshops, exhibits, an all-day seminar and keynote by Greg Judy, rotational grazier and carbon sequestration advocate.

The conference draws about 1,000 participants from Massachusetts and neighboring states, including seasoned and beginning farmers, urban homesteaders, backyard gardeners, food activists, and others.

2015 workshop topics include crop production, farm management, health, homesteading, livestock, beekeeping, policy, skill building, infrastructure, soil, urban/backyard gardening and organic land care.

The conference will be followed by a post-conference dinner with Greg Judy.

GENTRIFICATION IN THE FOOD SYSTEM: 

Members of [Worcester REC’s] YouthGROW will be presenting a workshop entitled Gentrification in the Food System.

The workshop will focus on:

the rapid growth of the food justice movement and “foodie” culture that has often excluded communities of color, youth and the poor

.. and the many ways we can work to reverse this trend.

Ralph Weah, Assistant Farm Manager, and Chad McClain, Assistant Youth Coordinator will share stories and strategies for dismantling racism and creating inclusive spaces.

We’d love to see you at our workshop:

1:30 p.m – 3 p.m. – Saturday, January 10, at Worcester State University! 

 For more information, please visit nofamass.org/winterconference

Massachusetts Farm to School Conference at Holy Cross college! BE THERE!

Today is the last day to register at the early bird rate!

Join over 300 other enthusiastic farm to cafeteria advocates from the preschool, K-12, and college sectors for a full day of workshops, networking, cooking demonstrations, and fun.

We will have over 20 different workshops including:

Farm to School Policy and Advocacy

Funding Farm to School Programs

On Campus Farming

Farm to Preschool 101

Farm Based Education Initiatives – Urban and Rural Farm Field Trips

Sea to School: Incorporating Local Seafood in School Meals

The conference will also include Farm to Cafeteria Regional Networking Sessions so that you can connect with others in your community who are involved in farm to cafeteria activities. Learn from their best practices, share your own tips, and move forward together!

We will be holding a concurrent Buyer Tradeshow and Networking Session for Farmers and Distributors. This will be a great opportunity to make direct connections with farmers from your region and discuss local sourcing with distributors.

REGISTER HERE to secure your spot! Discounts are available for students and conference presenters.

We expect the conference to attract over 300 individuals from a variety of fields including school and college dining services, farmers, non-profit organization staff, state agency representatives, legislators, school educators and administrators.

Massachusetts Farm to School

34 Main Street, Suite 10

Amherst, MA 01002

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And …

DONATE TODAY!

December 2014

Dear friends:

Nearly 365,000 Massachusetts schoolchildren rely on school meals for more than half of their daily calories.

Serving children healthy food that they like to eat is a simple and effective way to protect them from hunger, ward off health risks, and help them to do better in school, but all too often kids are denied the critical benefits that daily access to fresh fruit and vegetables can provide.

These same children often have limited exposure to where real food comes from, a connection that we know plays an important role in developing healthy eating habits.

That’s why Massachusetts Farm to School introduces school children across Massachusetts to local fruits and vegetables, and to the farmers who grow them.

Through this program, schoolchildren regularly enjoy fresh Massachusetts vegetables, fruits and dairy products as part of their school lunch.

Our approach is hands-on, personal and effective:

We connect school districts with farmers who provide affordably-priced local food;

We provide cafeteria cooks with healthy recipes that are easy to prepare and kid-tested;

Students are introduced to a wide range of local fruits and vegetables; and

New, life-long healthy eating habits are instilled.

Visits from Massachusetts farmers and special field trips to local farms spark curiosity, and can be transformative for those children who rarely see anything green and growing in their neighborhood.

Massachusetts Farm to School is already very successful, but the number of students who benefit is still small. Hundreds of thousands of children across the Commonwealth still need our help.

Your generous tax deductible gift can help Massachusetts Farm to School ensure that every child in our state has access to the fresh and healthy food they need to grow and thrive.

DONATE HERE!

Sincerely,

The Mass. Farm to School Team

P.S. Your support today will help students across the Commonwealth to have access to a well-balanced school lunch every day this school year – giving a chance for a brighter future.

Massachusetts Farm to School

34 Main Street, Suite 10

Amherst, MA 01002

It’s “Massachusetts Harvest for Students” week! Sept. 30 – Oct. 4! See Worcester events!

Celebrate the Local Harvest

Schools serve up healthy local foods to students

BOSTON – Fall in Massachusetts is peak harvest time: apples and pears are ripening in the orchards and vegetables are ready in the fields. Students throughout the Commonwealth will be savoring these locally grown foods as part of the 7th annual Harvest for Students Week September 30 – October 4, 2013.

During Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week, schools and colleges promote the local harvest and serve fresh, nutritious meals prepared with foods produced by Massachusetts’ farms. It’s a time for institutions to highlight their successful locally grown food initiatives or to purchase and offer locally grown products for the first time. In addition to serving a wide range of Massachusetts grown foods in the cafeterias, school activities during Harvest for Students Week will include visits from local farmers, school garden activities, sending home local produce “goody bags” to families, and corn shucking with students.

Harvest for Students Week was created by the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, which coordinates it each year in collaboration with partners like the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts, and the Mass. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week is a delicious celebration of our local harvest and the relationships that have developed between school food services and farms all over the state,” said Kelly Erwin, Director of the Massachusetts Farm to School Project. “Bringing local foods into cafeterias ensures that ALL young people, regardless of circumstances, have access to healthy, delicious, locally grown foods.”

Studies show that students who are served fresh, locally grown items tend to eat significantly more fruits and vegetables. Farm to school connections are making a positive difference at a time of concern about childhood obesity and local food security, while simultaneously improving the local economy and opportunities for Massachusetts farms.

Mass. Harvest for Students Week will be widely celebrated throughout the state, where the number of public school districts reporting they preferentially purchase locally grown foods has grown from fewer than 20 in 2004 to more than 230 in 2012. A majority of these districts report they increased the amount of their locally grown food purchases during 2011-2012. The number of farms reporting they sell directly to school and college cafeterias has also grown steadily, to 114 in 2012.

For more information, visit www.massfarmtoschool.org or call 413-253-3844.

The Massachusetts Farm to School Project offers individualized assistance and group trainings to farms, food distributors, food service operations at schools, colleges, and other institutions that are interested in establishing sustainable purchasing relationships. Since 2004, the Project has been promoting the consumption of locally grown foods in schools and other institutions, for the good of our children, our communities, and our economy.

How Schools and Colleges Across the State Plan to Celebrate Mass. Harvest for Students Week 2013

If your city or town is not on this list, contact your area school or college food service director to find out what their plans are.

Amherst – UMass Amherst will host local farmer visits and fresh, local produce sampling all week in dining halls, In addition, guest chef Ross Kamens, founder of Revolutionary Food will visit and cook on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Cambridge – On Thursday, October 3, Peabody School will be celebrating Harvest Week with a ribbon cutting for a new salad bar featuring local produce.

Chicopee – Chicopee Public Schools will be serving local produce from Czajkowski Farm daily and farmer Joe Czajkowski will come for lunch one day. Students will also go home with grab bags of local produce, recipes and Farm to School materials to share with their parents.

Franklin – Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School will be offering a special locally-grown dish and inviting local farmers. They will also be having on the last Friday of each month a local politician come in to serve with us. The students will make posters and we will be having a recipe contest in the later months.

Groton – Groton School will be featuring three to five local products every day to be used at each of the meal periods during the week. Look for menu items such as grilled vegetable frittata using local produce, eggs, & farmers cheese for breakfast. Locally raised turkey with grilled peaches at lunch and local roast pork & paula red applesauce with local blueberry pie for dinner.

Mendon-Upton – Schools will be offering locally grown apples, pears from Lanni Orchards at school lunches during that week.

Waltham – Healthy Waltham will be providing zucchini and summer squash grown at Waltham Fields Community Farm to the public schools. They will end Harvest Week by opening the farm to the public with lots of fun activities.

Williamsburg – Students from the Anne T. Dunphy School (currently under construction) will sell the garlic that they planted last spring at the Burgy Farmer’s Market on Thursday October 3rd!

Worcester – Chandler Elementary School students participating in Mass. Farm to School Project’s Worcester Kindergarten Initiative will be joined by the Regional Environmental Council’s Mobile Farmers Market and volunteers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. They’ll be doing fun vegetable activities and handing out local pears for students to take home.

Worcester – Assumption College will host a week of events featuring local farmers and the foods they grow.