Facilitating Relationships in Value Chain Development and Food Hubs by Region
WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, 2017-2019This project provides technical assistance and facilitates relationships needed to fill missing links in regional supply chains to increase access for specialty crop producers and processors to the institutional markets, including K-12 school districts. WSDA is working to activate regional networks and supply chain linkages with referrals, marketing support, and coordination with various value chain development initiatives in target regions including Clark County, Okanogan County, San Juan County, Spokane County, Stevens County, Walla Walla County, and more.
Washington State Farm to School Network Launch
USDA Farm to School Grant 2017-2018
WSDA faciliated a project with over 40 organizations to launch the Washington State Farm to School Network to provide a framework for communication and coordination among farm to school programs, organizations, schools, farmers, and other stakeholders across the state. The Network supports new and existing farm to school programs by increasing access to support and collaboration, identified existing gaps in current resources and services, and grew to over 200 members in 2018.
USDA Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits & Vegetables
OSPI Child Nutrition Partnership 2015-2017
Washington State was one of eight states selected to participate in the USDA Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables (USDA Pilot Project). The program enables school districts to use their USDA entitlement funds to purchase domestically grown, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Washington State's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Child Nutrition Services partnered with WSDA Farm to School team to support the USDA Pilot Project in the state through outreach, training, toolkit development, and technical assistance to school districts, farms, and vendors participating in the program. Read more and access the project's tools on the WSDA Farm to School Toolkit USDA Pilot Project page.
Value Chain Strategies for Source-Identified Minimally Processed Produce for the School Market
USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program Grant 2015-2017
This WSDA Regional Markets Program research project analyzed the relationships between food hubs, small farmer co-ops, farmers, processors, and school food service through information collected through a mix of surveys, in depth interviews, and case studies. WSDA conducted applied qualitative and quantitative research to learn about traditional wholesale supply chains as well as values-based supply chains and value chain strategies to improve the availability of locally grown, processed produce for food service buyers. WSDA engaged directly with project participants to pilot case studies, formulate value chain strategies, and support ongoing work towards source-identified product sales to schools. Read the summary and final report on WSDA's blog.
Washington State Farm to School Summit
USDA Farm to School Grant 2015
WSDA worked with partners to host a statewide farm to school summit in spring 2015. The one and a half day event built on the momentum of successful farm to school efforts and aim to initiate and reinvigorate buyer, seller, distributor, processor, and community partner relationships. The conference will explored various topics through workshops on multi-level policy efforts, cross-sector collaboration, procurement, nutrition standards, and food safety; celebration, showcases, and networking for farms, vendors, schools and community partners; supply chain panels with schools and their farm, processor, food hub and distributor partners; and working groups to discuss state-level research findings, identify opportunities and needs for processing, storage, aggregation and distribution, and to strengthen capacity and relationships.
Washington State Farm to School Program Implementation
USDA Farm to School Grant 2013-2014
WSDA provided critical farm to school support through statewide technical assistance, regional "mobile tours" for educating farms and schools, shared recipes and established regional networks, held Taste Washington Day and National Farm to School Month promotions, presentations at conferences and workshops around the state, and developed materials on safe use of school garden and farm-fresh produce in school salad bars.
South King County Farm to School Collaborative
Community Transformation Grant (CTG) 2012-14
Partnering with three school districts in south King County, WA, the WSDA Farm to School program worked on a project to test procurement models using USDA's guidance on geographic preference, school food purchasing and bidding requirement that work for both school districts and farms/food producers. This project included assessment, strategic plan development, project implementation, school food service staff training, and technical assistance. CTG was funded through Seattle Children's Hospital and made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This project produced product solicitation templates and tools available on our Procurement and Geographic Preference page.
SAFE (Safe and Fun to Eat) Salad Bars
Salad Bar Mini-Grant 2012-2013
WSDA, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Department of Health's Food Safety Program, Washington State University School of Food Science and the youth-led Seattle Food Empowerment Education and Sustainability Team (FEEST) partnered on this project aimed to increase understanding and to communicate clearly with three key audiences—school food service directors, county health inspectors, and students to address barriers to salad bar use and expansion. The team developed communication resources including the SAFE Salad Bars in Schools Guide, and educational videos and posters aimed at students.
Improving Access to Institutional Markets
WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant 2011-2014
WSDA offered seven workshops across the state on "How to Buy and Serve Washington-Grown Foods", piloted local procurement at two school districts, and provided technical assistance to school district nutrition programs working to increase procurement of locally grown foods thruogh the National School Lunch Program.
Bridging the GAPs
WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant 2011-2014
Bridging the GAPs is a WSDA project to improve food safety and develop Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) education and outreach services for diversified farms. WSDA provided trainings, publications, and information and support for farms working on food safety planning and considering a GAP/GHP audit, specifically on smaller or more diversified farms. Visit WSDA's Bridging the GAPs page for more detailed information on this project, and to download the Bridging the GAPs farm guide and templates.
School's Guide to Purchasing Washington Grown Food Publication & Farm to School Start-up Guide
Communities Putting Prevention to Work Projects 2010-2012
The WSDA Farm to School Program worked on three projects funded through Communities Putting Prevention to Work grants via Public Health-Seattle & King County. These projects included: Implementing a farm to school program with Kent School District and developing a farm to school Getting Started guide; developing tools and resources for senior and childcare meal programs including the Farm to Preschool pages in the WSDA Farm to School Toolkit; and conducting legal research and guidance on local food procurement for school districts to publish the School's Guide to Purchasing Washington Grown Food.
Farm to Prison Pilot Project
Washington State Department of Corrections partnership 2010-2011
This pilot project to evaluated supplying local food from Washington farms to two state correctional instititions, and evaluated whether, and to what degree, local purchasing in these institutions benefitted the Department of Corrections, local economies and small farms in Washington State. The WSDA Farm to School Program also assessed correctional institutions as direct markets for farms and developed institutional procurement models.
Farm-to-School: Building New Markets for Specialty Crops in Schools
WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant 2009-2012
This project successfully sought to create more awareness about the market opportunity in Farm to School, address known challenges to succeeding in this market, and conduct surveys of producers, processors and buyers to better understand the farm to institutional marketplace going into the future. The project helped launch the online WSDA Farm to School Toolkit, host farmer and food service mobile trainings, farm to school surveys of schools, farmers, and processors, and presentations to various stakeholders statewide.