Farm to School FAQ and Some EmailsPosted: August 10, 2012
What is Farm to School?
Well, I’m not entirely sure. I just think it’s a good starting point for school lunch reform. School nutrition coordinators keep abreast of changes in federal regulations, so they’re the ones to ask what farm to school means right now and in this district. Really, they’re the only ones who can manage the quagmire of bureaucracy involved in dealing with the Federal School Lunch Program.
I do know that to start a farm to school program, in addition to a good nutrition coordinator, you need a farm and a school. The school, for now, is Madison Camelview. We still need the farm. I hope we find a farm.
I also know that Farm to School is program of the USDA. This means Farm to School programs entail sifting through mountains of regulations and legislation. I have issues (about which I have written and will write again) with the USDA anyway, so this should solidify my feelings.
Finally, I know that getting local organic food into our schools is one of the most powerful things we can do for our community. A Farm to School program (and grant) in the Madison District will provide students and their families resources for a healthy future.
What are these emails you speak of?
One from Patty Hunn, Nutrition Director at Madison Camelview: Said we need to inquire of all interested farms whether they have “written safeguards” and an HAACP plan.
And from Michael Winters, principal at Camelview: referred me to Kristen Soulsby (Director of Food and Nutrition Services)
And from Kristin Soulsby, RD: referred me to Patty Hunn
Looks like Patty is the one I talk to–which I knew anyway, I just figured I should contact the administrators involved.
It was Patty who told me to start asking around for farmers, so I want to do this thoroughly. I’ll need help. So far I’m talking to the IRC, Crooked Sky Farms and Pinnacle Farms. I was rejected by One Windmill Farm.
Safety concerns are paramount, so when you’re talking to farm owners or employees, ask about the HAACP (hazard analysis and critical control points) first.
Then ask about transport–can they get food to the school/schools? According to Patty, most farms are just too far to make a program like this feasible. Interestingly, every farm I’ve talked to said transportation was a logistics issue. So. . . .I’ll email Patty back to see if there’s any way the school could provide transportation. Specifically, I’m wondering if a grant would finance transportation. I’ll let you know.
Patty thinks we’ll be able to get going on the farm to school thing in a few weeks. The first few weeks of school are chaotic for everyone, so I’ll try to leave people alone for a bit.
Maybe I’m jumping the gun, but who’s going to write this grant?
How do I find out more about school lunch reform?
I think the best place to start is by reading Dana Waldow’s PEACHESSF (Parents Educators and Advocates for Healthy School Food) How-to-Guide:
And familiarizing yourself with lunch-speak:
And thinking about school food:
More FAQ: Farm to School Grants