Washington State Farm to School Summit 2015


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In April 2015, WSDA brought together farms, processors, distributors, schools, educators and school gardeners to learn together and strategize next steps in regional farm to school efforts. With representatives from USDA, National Farm to School Network, Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network, and nearly 30 speakers experienced in Farm to School efforts around the state, the Summit was an inspiring and invigorating two days!  This project was funded in part by a USDA Farm to School Conference and Events Grant, and included sponsorship from the Whatcom Community Foundation, the Washington Potato Commision, the Washington State Dairy Council, and Northwest Farm Credit Services.

The Summit would not have been possible without contributions from all the many schools, producers, businesses, community partners and government agencies represented. Over 30 audience members presented formally and many more participated by sharing their story during workgroups, breakout sessions, poster presentations and resource tabling! The collective energy and diverse engagement in farm to school across Washington State is inspiring. Hopefully, you can find creative ways to apply the new connections made and resources shared. We encourage you to stay in touch and continue to put your school, business, or organization on the map to further momentum for farm to school in Washington State! 


Wenatchee Convention Center, April 15th - 16th, 2015

WSDA partnered with USDA and OSPI Child Nutrition to present the Washington State Farm to School Summit for school nutrition directors, Washington farmers and ranchers, processors, distributors, food hubs, and community partners in farm to school.

At this 1.5-day Summit, stakeholders gathered to network for success and problem-solving for farm to school programs in Washington State. Many participants went come with new partnerships and an action plans for next steps – whether it be the first step in their farm to school programming, community partnership plans, or a collaborative effort with producers, food hub, and school districts in their region for building an effective local supply chain.

The Summit used the National Farm to School Network Evaluation Framework "Evaluation for Transformation: A Cross-Sectoral Evaluation Framework for Farm to School"presented by keynote speaker Mary Stein from the National Farm to School Network, to provide structure and cohesion for Washington State efforts and enhance our ability to coordinate, evaluate, and share our successes and stories. The framework provided shared language and priorities for afternoon sessions and discussion material for breakout groups on the second day. 

Download the Full 2015 Washington State Farm to School Summit Agenda



Engaging in Evaluation

With Mardi Solomon and Holly O’Neil, Whatcom Farm-to-School Support Team

Mardi and Holly lead an interactive evaluation activity where schools, farms and community partners shared their perspectives, progress and goals on Farm to School in Washington State. Overall, response for unified statewide evaluation was positive. Of the 100 respondents, 37 said they were interested in participating an evaluation workgroup and 40 said maybe! More qualitative findings will be available at a later date.


Farm to School Demo Luncheon 

Thank you to the Washington farms and businesses who donated food and our food demonstrators, Dana Daniel, Monroe Public Schools and Kent Getzin, Wenatchee School District. 

Recipes served were:

(1) Rainbow Salad from Monroe Public Schools
(2) Pork Tacos/Green Chick Pea Guacomole/Salsa from Wenatchee School District
(3) Purple Monster Smoothie and Granola Crunch Breakfast Smoothie

Breakout Sessions: What can you do to build Farm to School in your Community? 

School Breakout Session 

Session Slides: Increasing Purchases of Washington-grown Food
 

Vendor Breakout Session

Session Slides: Trends and Opportunities in Farm to School 
 

Community Partner Breakout Session

Participants identified a number of topics of interest and organized discussions around three in particular:

  • School Gardens: Community partners shared different models for garden-based education including different organizational structures, approaches to funding, and working directly with teachers to collaboratively develop curricula that meet both educational standards and the needs and interests of particular teachers.
  • School to Farm: This conversation focused on engaging students of all ages directly on farms in a variety of ways including occasional field trips, year-long programs that link classroom activities with seasonal visits to a farm, and on-farm schools.  Conversation included the offering students the opportunity to develop a relationship with a place (the farm) over time, insurance, working with school districts, farm-based education across multiple subject areas, and opportunities for experiential and non-traditional educational settings.
  • Community support and engagement in Farm to School: Recognizing the complex network of community and food systems opportunities and challenges that surround farm to school efforts, community partners with many perspectives shared ideas about ways that broader community connections and partnerships can create a supportive ecosystem for farm to school

The State of the State in Farm to School

WSDS Farm to School survey results and exploration of opportunities with Tricia Kovacs and Karen Ullmann, WSDA Farm to School Team

Session Slides: The State of the State in Farm to School 

 


Key Summit Takeaways

There were opportunities for learning and collaboration across many groups!

School nutrition directors and staff:

  • learned about all the agencies and resources that support them in farm to school efforts,
  • built common messages and frameworks for telling success stories and building community support,
  • heard about the various purchasing and supply chain models others are using to get local food into their schools,
  • shared needs and goals with farmers, processors, distributors and food hubs to help shape the systems that bring farm fresh food to your cafeterias
  • made connections with new farm, processor and distributor vendors across Washington State!

Farms, processors and distributors:

  • learned about all the agencies and resources that support them in farm to school efforts,
  • attended sessions that highlight new sales opportunities and share school-specific market requirements,
  • heard about the various purchasing and supply chain models others are using to get local food into their schools,
  • strategized infrastructure opportunities with other businesses through case study presentations and work groups
  • developed business relationships with their local school and other farms, processors or distributors across the state!

Community partners and other Farm to School advocates:

  • learned about all the agencies and resources that support them in farm to school efforts,
  • built common messages and frameworks for telling success stories and building community support,
  • had the opportunity to lead and participate in discussions that will guide their work on school gardens, Harvest of the Month and classroom curriculum, and how to support their foodservice team with local purchasing,
  • heard about the various purchasing and supply chain models others are using to get local food into their schools,
  • shared needs and goals with farmers, processors, distributors and food hubs to help shape the systems that bring farm fresh food to your cafeterias!

Photos & Images From the Day

 

 





 


FUNDING & SPONSORS

Made possible with the support of USDA's Farm to School Grant Program and the following sponsors:

Farm to School Demo Luncheon presented by Whatcom Community Foundation & Washington State Potato Commission

Networking Reception presented by Northwest Farm Credit Services

Northwest Farm Credit Services Logo

Grab 'n' Go Breakfast presented by Washington State Dairy Council

WA Dairy Council Logo

**WSDA Farm to School Team's sincere THANK-YOU to all the sponsors**