Trainings, Presentations, and Workshops

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Farm and School Food Service Trainings

WSDA Farm to School develops and provides farm trainings on institutional markets, including product needs, how to approach schools, and food safety and insurance requirements. School food service trainings include information on farm-direct purchasing, food safety, preparing fresh produce, and seasonal menu planning. We have offered over 40 trainings since 2010 hosted by WSDA, and with partners such as Washington School Nutrition Association's Fall & Spring Workshops and Summer Conference, and OSPI Child Nutrition Services Trainings. Through WSDA Farm to School Surveys and other feedback, we regularly seek input on what trainings would be most helpful to farms and schools.

Workshops WSDA Farm to School has offered include:

Farm Tour and Kitchen Skills - Mobile workshops in a region provide an opportunity for farms and schools to see each other in action and learn about the realities of operations on farms and in school kitchens. Travel time allows for interaction among participants and encourages potential cooperation to develop supply chain solutions specific to their region. Past Farm Tour and Kitchen Skills Workshops have included farm tours, school kitchen visits, product testing, local school lunch demos, and culinary trainings.

How to Buy and Serve Washington Grown Foods Workshops - These procurement trainings for school nutrition directors and district purchasing officers are designed to share techniques for how to purchase Washington grown foods following USDA NSLP procurement regulations directly from local farms and producers, and through distributors. Topics include policies & procedures, menu planning, developing specifications, finding farms, procurement methods, Geographic Preference, and more techniques to increase purchases of Washington-grown food. Workshops also cover marketing and promotion, food safety, and other critical issues in farm to school implementation.  Various factsheets and tools are distributed at the workshop, including WSDA's A School's Guide to Purchasing Washington-Grown Food and SAFE Salad Bars in Schools:  A Guide for School Food Service publications.

Selling to Schools 101 - This marketing workshop for farmers, producers, distributors, and other potential vendors covers techniques for establishing sales relationships with school buyers, meeting your buyers' expectations for direct sales to schools, and increasing sales to schools. Topics have included food safety requirements, participating in the USDA NSLP procurement process as a vendor, pricing, product development, marketing and other school partnerships farms could pursue. Various factsheets and tools are distributed at the workshop, including WSDA's Selling to Schools 101.

USDA Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables - These workshops trained both school nutrition directors and food producers on how to join and use the USDA Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables, how to use the program to purchase locally grown products, vendor eligibiltiy, how to become a vendor, and more. These trainings were designed to provide information and technical support for the purchase of minimally processed fruits and vegetables for school districts thruogh the program, and made possible through funding and in partnership with OSPI Child Nutrition.

Farmer Business Planning to Wholesale - This training series for produce farmers shared tools to calculate costs of production, assess new buyers and market opportunities for their business, and on-farm techniques to be more effective selling directly to larger volume buyers such as school districts.

Good Agricultural Practices and On-Farm Food Safety Workshops - Many schools are seeking produce with food safety assurances, whether by checklist or required certifications.  WSDA offers on-farm workshops with GAP auditors, to help fruit and vegetable growers prepare to meet that demand through WSDA's "Bridging the GAPs trainings.

Please contact us at if you are interested in working with us to organize a workshop or training!

Conferences & Presentations

Farm to School continues to grow in Washington State! More and more people are asking questions and getting involved statewide, regionally, and nationally. WSDA Farm to School staff have participated in many conferences and events to share about the benefits and logistics about Farm to School, and integrate Farm to School in your next event to get connected.

WSDA helps get the word out about farm to school benefits, impacts, and strategies through conferences, presentations, and events. We've spoken with farmers, school staff, community organizations, public agencies, and many additional stakeholders about the Farm to School model and market, educational programming opportunities, and how people can get involved.

Some topics we've covered are:

  • Farm to School Logistics and How to Get Started
  • Farm to School Supply Chain Development
  • Emerging Opportunities in Farm to School
  • Engaging a Diverse Group of Stateholders to Develop Farm to School Programs
  • Farm to School and Community Economic Development
  • Market Opportunities and Benefits of Farm to School
  • Impacts of Farm to School on Agriculture, Health, and Education
  • Nutrition Education and Farm to School
  • Farm to School in the Classroom and Career and Technical Education
  • Local Food Purchasing and Geographic Preference
  • On-Farm Food Safety and Good Agricultural Practices

Informational tables: WSDA Farm to School also attends trade show and exhibit portions of conferences and events. Outreach includes answering questions, providing 1:1 technical assistance, and distributing factsheets, resources, and publications.

Some of the conferences, events, and venues we've presented or done outreach at are below.

  • Statewide:
    • SNAP-Ed Forum
    • Tilth Producers/Tilth Alliance Conferences
    • Washington State Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
    • WA Association of Agriculture Educators Annual Conference
    • WA Association of Career and Technical Education Conferences
    • WA Family and Consumer Science Education Conference
    • WA State Farm to School Network Launch Summit
    • WA State Farmers Market Association Annual Conference
    • WA State Food and Nutrition Council Annual Conferences
    • WA State Food Policy Forum
    • WA State Environmental Health Association Annual Meeting
    • WA State School Directors' Association Annual Conference
    • WSU Food$ense statewide conference for Policy, Systems and Environment Change
  • Regional:
    • Cascade Harvest Coaltition Farm-to-Table Meetings in Spokane, Walla Walla, Bellingham, Port Townsend, Yakima and Wenatchee
    • Clark County "Growing our Future" Food Summit
    • Cultivating Success
    • North Olympic Penninsula Farm to School Conference
    • North Central Washington Farm to School Conference
    • San Juan Islands Agricultural Summit
    • South Sound Food Summit
  • National:
    • National Farm to Cafeteria Conferences
    • Center for Disease Control and Prevention, State Leads Meeting
    • National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Farm to School Pre-conference
    • National Conference of State Legislatures Annual Meeting
    • USDA Farm to School State Agency Gathering

If you are interested in incorporating Farm to School into your next conference or event, please contact