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 FarmtoSchool@agr.wa.gov if you are interested in working with us to organize a workshop or training!