Working together to serve school children Washington-grown food will be the focus of a statewide Farm to School Summit, called Putting Down Roots, hosted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) on April 15-16 in Wenatchee. The event is also supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Washington State Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI). The Summit will connect school nutrition directors with farmers, ranchers, processors, distributors, educators and advocates to collaborate on farm to school progress.
“The Summit is perfectly timed to share a new USDA pilot program giving schools more flexibility to spend their federal dollars on locally grown fruits and vegetables,” said WSDA Farm to School lead Tricia Kovacs. “Washington is one of only eight states selected to participate, based on the strength of our existing farm to school efforts and our agricultural diversity. We at WSDA want to help farms, businesses and schools make the most of this opportunity.”
Farms, schools, and other partners will learn about a range of different methods to get farm products onto students’ lunch trays.
Keynote speaker Anupama Joshi will present a framework of common language, goals and inspiration for bringing farm-fresh meals to school lunchrooms and on bringing food and farm education to classrooms and school gardens. Joshi is executive director and co-founder of the National Farm to School Network.
Other Summit highlights include panel sessions presenting real-life examples of farm to school successes and challenges. Educators and practitioners will share their experience with food hubs, processor partnerships, school gardens, curriculum and special events. Participants will take away new partnerships and an action plan to build local food supply chains.
For more information about the Summit see the event website. Registration is open until April 10.