Resources

Advocates

7 Steps to Creating a School Garden

School gardens can be a great asset to the school environment. However, the process involves careful planning and good management skills. The school garden is not a one person show. Rather, it should be a collaborative effort that involves administrators, students, teachers, parents, and other members of the community. Read on for 7 steps to get you started!


Carrot Camp Snack Recipes from Good Food for Oxford Schools

Check out these easy and fun recipes kids can make for themselves.


Fresh Start Lessons and Guide Book

Excellent farm to school resource for early childcare programs in Mississippi! Developed by Lauren Crosby, these lessons and guide will help plan out a fantastic farm to school program for a pre-school or daycare program.


We Dig It! 5th Grade Math School Garden Curriculum

From Delta Fresh Foods - curriculum tailored to the Mississippi College Readiness Standards for 5th Math.


Community Garden Start Up Guide

This wonderful guide from University of California Davis walks through step by step directions of setting up a community garden. "This "Community Garden Start-Up Guide" is intended to help neighborhood groups and organizations along the path to starting and sustaining a community garden."


Slow Food USA School Garden Guide

A great guide to starting a school garden! "Build. Grow. Learn."


The Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network

The Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network (MSAN) supports healthy farms and communities to develop economically and ecologically responsible local food systems throughout Mississippi.


USDA Selling Local to Schools Fact Sheet

ACROSS THE COUNTRY, an increasing number of schools and districts have begun to source more foods locally and to provide complementary educational activities to students that emphasize food, farming, and nutrition. If you are a local food producer, this means that there are more opportunities than ever to nourish the children who live in your own community. As a farmer, rancher, fisherman, food processor, baker, or other food producer, you can play a role in providing local products to schools to serve during breakfast, lunch, snack times, and supper, and in educating students about food and agriculture.


USDA Resource for Buying Local Fact Sheet

USDA FOODS has a dual mission of supporting domestic agriculture and providing healthy foods to schools. Offerings include a variety of fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables, lean meats, peanut butter, whole wheat grain products, and cheeses. In order to access these healthy options, each state in the country is allocated a certain amount of money, or “entitlement value,” to spend on USDA Foods, based on the number of lunches served in the previous school year. In FY 2014, $1.4 billion in USDA Foods went to schools; in any given year, about 10-15% of the value of food served through the National School Lunch Program comes from USDA Foods.


USDA Geographic Preference Fact Sheet

THE 2008 FARM BILL directed the Secretary of Agriculture to encourage schools to purchase locally grown and locally raised products “to the maximum extent practicable and appropriate.” Further, the Secretary was instructed to allow schools to use a “geographic preference” when procuring locally grown and locally raised unprocessed agricultural products. There are many ways for schools to buy local products for use in federal school meals programs (see USDA’s 10 Facts About Local Food in School Cafeterias). While using geographic preference is not the only option for local food procurement, it is a powerful tool and particularly useful in formal solicitations where respondents are ranked and scored.


USDA Using DOD to Buy Local Fact Sheet

THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (DoD Fresh) allows schools to use their USDA Foods entitlement dollars to buy fresh produce. As of 2014, schools in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam participate; schools received more than $120 million worth of produce during SY 2013-2014.


USDA 10 Facts About Local Food in School Cafeterias


Request for Information Basics for FSDs

Making a Request for Information for farmers to fill out – creating a database of local foods available to your school district! Creating a “Request for Information” a.k.a an “RFI” is a great way to start cataloguing local foods available to your school district. This USDA endorsed procurement step will allow you to have constructive conversations with farmers in your area about selling to your program.


Mississippi Farm Food Safety Checklist

The following checklist is meant to facilitate communication between farmers and potential buyers. This checklist provides background information on the farms from which products are purchased.


Mississippi Growing Calendar

A great way to find out when to plant crops in a school garden, or expect crops to be harvested in your region of the state.


Farm to School: Case Study, Boulder Valley School District

Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) Food Services received a USDA farm to school grant in late 2013 and started implementation in 2014. The primary focus of the grant project was on education and marketing. Its overarching goal was to develop a year-round educational/promotional program to increase student meal counts at breakfast and lunch and improve student acceptance and consumption of locally sourced foods as part of their meals. This was accomplished through a multi-pronged approach that involved engaging many community stakeholders, food service team members, students, school administrators and teachers. Building gardens, teacher trainings and curriculum development, a community harvest festival, students visiting farms, farmers visiting students, local food tastings, harvest of the month, art contests, procurement system improvement for local food, a spring Farmers Market event and writing two manuals so others can learn how to accomplish these achievements also ‒ Boulder went way beyond their own grant goals.


Farm to Preschool: Getting Started with Local Foods Purchasing from EcoTrust

There is no one model for doing Farm to Preschool, and programs may take many forms. Use these tips to help get you started.


Mississippi Farm to School Interagency Council Progress Report

A report from the Mississippi Farm to School Interagency Council on the progress of the council by December 2014.


A Step-by-Step Guide To Purchasing Mississippi Products

In a state with rich agricultural resources, lasting traditions of family farming, and a climate conducive to year-long growing seasons, why are Mississippi’s school children eating fruits and vegetables predominantly shipped from other states and countries? Farm to school programs that connect Mississippi farmers with schools offer a promising way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for students while improving the economic viability of local farms. This step-by-step purchasing guide aims to help school food service directors in Mississippi start to purchase locally grown foods to be served in school meals. Written by Harvard Law School Food Law and Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project Fall 2012


Expanding Farm to School in Mississippi: Analysis and Recommendations by Harvard Law School

Great report from May of 2011


Mississippi Association of Cooperatives

The Mississippi Association of Cooperatives (MAC) was established in 1972 as an affiliate of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (1967). A nonprofit organization, MAC serves farmers, their families and communities in increasing their livelihood security and improving quality of life. Building from a tradition steeped in the Civil Rights Movement, MAC provides technical assistance and advocates for the needs of its members in the areas of cooperative development and networking, sustainable production, marketing and community food security.


Food Corps

FoodCorps is a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. Serving alongside educators and community leaders, FoodCorps members partner with schools to put in place a three-ingredient recipe for healthy kids, creating a nourishing environment for all students. Our service members provide: Knowledge: food and nutrition education that gives kids the information they need to make smart choices Engagement: hands-on activities like gardening and cooking that foster skills and pride around healthy food Access: lunch trays filled with nutritious meals from local farms


Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education. Find great school garden curriculum here!


Slow Food USA

Slow Food USA is part of the global Slow Food network of over 100,000 members in more than 150 countries. Through a vast volunteer network of local chapters, youth and food communities, we link the pleasures of the table with a commitment to protect the community, culture, knowledge and environment that make this pleasure possible. Our mission as an international grassroots membership organization is good, clean and fair food for all. Slow Food has a National School Garden program with amazing school garden resources.


The Lunch Box

Our mission is to provide school district administrators, food service directors, and their teams with the tools and resources they need to serve healthy, nutritious, and delicious food to every student, every day. Great resource for recipes!


Mississippians Engaged in Greener Agriculture

MEGA is a non-profit organization founded in Shelby, MS by Co-Lead of the Mississippi Farm to School Network Dorothy Grady-Scarbrough.


Program Example: Growing Healthy Waves at the Tupelo Public School District

TPSD's "Growing Healthy Waves" program works with FoodCorps using "farm to school" principles in order to teach about food and nutrition.


Program Example: Good Food for Oxford Schools at the Oxford School District

Good Food for Oxford Schools (GFOS) is an initiative of the Oxford School District in Oxford, Mississippi to improve cafeteria menus and simultaneously educate students and their families. Overseen by the Child Nutrition Department of the Oxford School System, GFOS leverages “farm to school” principles to bring local farm produce into school cafeterias that serve more cooked-from-scratch and fresh menu items. Working in the classroom with students, and with families after school, GFOS teaches the importance of a nutrient-rich diet that utilizes local foods when available. Education includes classroom lessons that link seeds to plants to meals at the elementary level, and the creation of food-themed clubs for students at the middle and high schools. Work with families includes healthy and delicious cooking classes, shared meals, and experiential learning in grocery stores, at farmers markets, and at area farms. Good Food for Oxford Schools increases knowledge of delicious, healthy, fresh, local foods and extends this learning from the classroom to the cafeteria to home.


The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi

The mission of The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi is to provide educational information and awareness about the impact of tobacco on Mississippi and to improve the culture of health in Mississippi by applying lessons learned in tobacco prevention to other leading causes of death and disease impacting our State and Nation. The Partnership received a USDA Farm to School Support Service Grant in 2014 and is helping to grow farm to school in Mississippi as a way to address the obesity epidemic.


Mississippi Food Policy Council

The mission of the MS Food Policy Council is to advocate for food and farm policies that build healthy communities and strengthen local food systems. The Mississippi Food Policy Council was established in April of 2010 and is comprised of stakeholders focused on issues such as hunger, farming, health, nutrition and policy. The steering committee has been comprised of organizations such as: Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, Harvard Law School, Real Food Gulf Coast, Delta Directions Consortium, Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, Mississippi Poultry Association, Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, Indianola Main Street/Indianola Farmers Market, Cole Farms, North Delta Produce Growers Association, Delta Fresh Foods, Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity, Mississippi Farm Bureau, Gulf Coast Health Educators, and Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. Individuals from Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, and several government agencies are also involved.


Delta Fresh Foods

The Delta Fresh Foods Initiative (DFFI) is a diverse coalition of community stakeholders committed to establishing sustainable, equitable community food systems in the Mississippi Delta. Members of the group include growers, consumers, health and agriculture educators, food retailers (including farmers' markets and other outlets), community-based organizations, funders, healthy food advocates and more. DFFI works on farm to school by helping with procurement and school gardens.


Mississippi State Department of Health Farm to School

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables at an early age can provide children with lifelong healthy eating habits and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Farm-to-school programs connect children with the healthy foods they need when they're away from home. Visit MSDH's website for resources on buying and selling local food to early childcare education programs.


Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Farm to School

The Mississippi Farm to School program was introduced to encourage the serving of locally-grown and locally-produced agricultural products in school meals and to recognize the substantial economic and health benefits of serving locally-grown foods. The program supports local farmers by creating additional marketing opportunities and avenues in which they can sell their product(s). Visit MDAC's website for access to their wonderful farm to school posters and cafeteria line clings!


Mississippi State Extension Agency

The Mississippi State University Extension Service provides research-based information, educational programs, and technology transfer focused on issues and needs of the people of Mississippi, enabling them to make informed decisions about their economic, social, and cultural well-being.


The National Farm to School Network

The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education into school systems and preschools. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. NFSN provides vision, leadership and support at the state, regional and national levels to connect and expand the farm to school movement, which has grown from a handful of schools in the late 1990s to approximately 40,000 schools in all 50 states as of 2012. Our network includes national staff, eight Regional Lead Agencies, 51 State Leads, a 17-member advisory board and thousands of farm to school supporters. NFSN was launched in 2007 by a collaborative of more than 30 organizations seeking to shape the burgeoning farm to school movement. Initially led by staff from the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) and the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) at Occidental College, NFSN is now a project of the Tides Center


Farmers

A Quick Guide: How to sell fruits and vegetables to Mississippi schools

There are two main routes for selling Mississippi-grown food to schools. Check out this guide to learn more about selling directly to school sites and through the Mississippi Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable (DOD) program through departments of agriculture and education.


The Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network

The Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network (MSAN) supports healthy farms and communities to develop economically and ecologically responsible local food systems throughout Mississippi.


USDA Selling Local to Schools Fact Sheet

ACROSS THE COUNTRY, an increasing number of schools and districts have begun to source more foods locally and to provide complementary educational activities to students that emphasize food, farming, and nutrition. If you are a local food producer, this means that there are more opportunities than ever to nourish the children who live in your own community. As a farmer, rancher, fisherman, food processor, baker, or other food producer, you can play a role in providing local products to schools to serve during breakfast, lunch, snack times, and supper, and in educating students about food and agriculture.


USDA Resource for Buying Local Fact Sheet

USDA FOODS has a dual mission of supporting domestic agriculture and providing healthy foods to schools. Offerings include a variety of fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables, lean meats, peanut butter, whole wheat grain products, and cheeses. In order to access these healthy options, each state in the country is allocated a certain amount of money, or “entitlement value,” to spend on USDA Foods, based on the number of lunches served in the previous school year. In FY 2014, $1.4 billion in USDA Foods went to schools; in any given year, about 10-15% of the value of food served through the National School Lunch Program comes from USDA Foods.


USDA Geographic Preference Fact Sheet

THE 2008 FARM BILL directed the Secretary of Agriculture to encourage schools to purchase locally grown and locally raised products “to the maximum extent practicable and appropriate.” Further, the Secretary was instructed to allow schools to use a “geographic preference” when procuring locally grown and locally raised unprocessed agricultural products. There are many ways for schools to buy local products for use in federal school meals programs (see USDA’s 10 Facts About Local Food in School Cafeterias). While using geographic preference is not the only option for local food procurement, it is a powerful tool and particularly useful in formal solicitations where respondents are ranked and scored.


USDA 10 Facts About Local Food in School Cafeterias


Mississippi Farm Food Safety Checklist

The following checklist is meant to facilitate communication between farmers and potential buyers. This checklist provides background information on the farms from which products are purchased.


Mississippi Growing Calendar

A great way to find out when to plant crops in a school garden, or expect crops to be harvested in your region of the state.


Farm to Preschool: Getting Started with Local Foods Purchasing from EcoTrust

There is no one model for doing Farm to Preschool, and programs may take many forms. Use these tips to help get you started.


Mississippi Farm to School Interagency Council Progress Report

A report from the Mississippi Farm to School Interagency Council on the progress of the council by December 2014.


A Step-by-Step Guide To Purchasing Mississippi Products

In a state with rich agricultural resources, lasting traditions of family farming, and a climate conducive to year-long growing seasons, why are Mississippi’s school children eating fruits and vegetables predominantly shipped from other states and countries? Farm to school programs that connect Mississippi farmers with schools offer a promising way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for students while improving the economic viability of local farms. This step-by-step purchasing guide aims to help school food service directors in Mississippi start to purchase locally grown foods to be served in school meals. Written by Harvard Law School Food Law and Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project Fall 2012


Expanding Farm to School in Mississippi: Analysis and Recommendations by Harvard Law School

Great report from May of 2011


Mississippi Association of Cooperatives

The Mississippi Association of Cooperatives (MAC) was established in 1972 as an affiliate of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (1967). A nonprofit organization, MAC serves farmers, their families and communities in increasing their livelihood security and improving quality of life. Building from a tradition steeped in the Civil Rights Movement, MAC provides technical assistance and advocates for the needs of its members in the areas of cooperative development and networking, sustainable production, marketing and community food security.


Mississippians Engaged in Greener Agriculture

MEGA is a non-profit organization founded in Shelby, MS by Co-Lead of the Mississippi Farm to School Network Dorothy Grady-Scarbrough.


Program Example: Growing Healthy Waves at the Tupelo Public School District

TPSD's "Growing Healthy Waves" program works with FoodCorps using "farm to school" principles in order to teach about food and nutrition.


Program Example: Good Food for Oxford Schools at the Oxford School District

Good Food for Oxford Schools (GFOS) is an initiative of the Oxford School District in Oxford, Mississippi to improve cafeteria menus and simultaneously educate students and their families. Overseen by the Child Nutrition Department of the Oxford School System, GFOS leverages “farm to school” principles to bring local farm produce into school cafeterias that serve more cooked-from-scratch and fresh menu items. Working in the classroom with students, and with families after school, GFOS teaches the importance of a nutrient-rich diet that utilizes local foods when available. Education includes classroom lessons that link seeds to plants to meals at the elementary level, and the creation of food-themed clubs for students at the middle and high schools. Work with families includes healthy and delicious cooking classes, shared meals, and experiential learning in grocery stores, at farmers markets, and at area farms. Good Food for Oxford Schools increases knowledge of delicious, healthy, fresh, local foods and extends this learning from the classroom to the cafeteria to home.


Mississippi Food Policy Council

The mission of the MS Food Policy Council is to advocate for food and farm policies that build healthy communities and strengthen local food systems. The Mississippi Food Policy Council was established in April of 2010 and is comprised of stakeholders focused on issues such as hunger, farming, health, nutrition and policy. The steering committee has been comprised of organizations such as: Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, Harvard Law School, Real Food Gulf Coast, Delta Directions Consortium, Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, Mississippi Poultry Association, Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, Indianola Main Street/Indianola Farmers Market, Cole Farms, North Delta Produce Growers Association, Delta Fresh Foods, Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity, Mississippi Farm Bureau, Gulf Coast Health Educators, and Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. Individuals from Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, and several government agencies are also involved.


Delta Fresh Foods

The Delta Fresh Foods Initiative (DFFI) is a diverse coalition of community stakeholders committed to establishing sustainable, equitable community food systems in the Mississippi Delta. Members of the group include growers, consumers, health and agriculture educators, food retailers (including farmers' markets and other outlets), community-based organizations, funders, healthy food advocates and more. DFFI works on farm to school by helping with procurement and school gardens.


Mississippi State Department of Health Farm to School

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables at an early age can provide children with lifelong healthy eating habits and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Farm-to-school programs connect children with the healthy foods they need when they're away from home. Visit MSDH's website for resources on buying and selling local food to early childcare education programs.


Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Farm to School

The Mississippi Farm to School program was introduced to encourage the serving of locally-grown and locally-produced agricultural products in school meals and to recognize the substantial economic and health benefits of serving locally-grown foods. The program supports local farmers by creating additional marketing opportunities and avenues in which they can sell their product(s). Visit MDAC's website for access to their wonderful farm to school posters and cafeteria line clings!


Mississippi State Extension Agency

The Mississippi State University Extension Service provides research-based information, educational programs, and technology transfer focused on issues and needs of the people of Mississippi, enabling them to make informed decisions about their economic, social, and cultural well-being.


The National Farm to School Network

The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education into school systems and preschools. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. NFSN provides vision, leadership and support at the state, regional and national levels to connect and expand the farm to school movement, which has grown from a handful of schools in the late 1990s to approximately 40,000 schools in all 50 states as of 2012. Our network includes national staff, eight Regional Lead Agencies, 51 State Leads, a 17-member advisory board and thousands of farm to school supporters. NFSN was launched in 2007 by a collaborative of more than 30 organizations seeking to shape the burgeoning farm to school movement. Initially led by staff from the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) and the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) at Occidental College, NFSN is now a project of the Tides Center


Schools

Addressing Dietetic Internship Competencies through Local Food and Farm to School

From the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project: Dietetic Interns have cited numerous benefits of participation in farm to school programs, including: unique rotation placement for supervised practice hours, civic engagement, opportunities to be a leader among their peers and in the community, and meaningful application of didactic knowledge to nutrition education and food service management projects. Dietetic Interns report they gained hands-on experience in teaching about local food, learned how to effectively educate and work with children, and gained an understanding of how to integrate and work with community partners, skills not always taught in academic programs.


School Garden Grants!

The Mississippi Farm to School Network is excited to announce 75 available farm to school grants for schools or school district over the next three years. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded us a three-year grant for school gardens for our proposed Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative efforts with the National Center for Appropriate Technology. As a vital partner in this project, the Mississippi Farm to School Network plays a critical role in insuring we improve health outcomes for vulnerable children and their families by increasing access to healthy foods and improving local food systems in our schools in Mississippi. Applications will be accepted and funded on a rolling basis. For questions, email Dorothy at dorothy.mega@gmail.com.


7 Steps to Creating a School Garden

School gardens can be a great asset to the school environment. However, the process involves careful planning and good management skills. The school garden is not a one person show. Rather, it should be a collaborative effort that involves administrators, students, teachers, parents, and other members of the community. Read on for 7 steps to get you started!


Carrot Camp Snack Recipes from Good Food for Oxford Schools

Check out these easy and fun recipes kids can make for themselves.


Fresh Start Lessons and Guide Book

Excellent farm to school resource for early childcare programs in Mississippi! Developed by Lauren Crosby, these lessons and guide will help plan out a fantastic farm to school program for a pre-school or daycare program.


We Dig It! 5th Grade Math School Garden Curriculum

From Delta Fresh Foods - curriculum tailored to the Mississippi College Readiness Standards for 5th Math.


Community Garden Start Up Guide

This wonderful guide from University of California Davis walks through step by step directions of setting up a community garden. "This "Community Garden Start-Up Guide" is intended to help neighborhood groups and organizations along the path to starting and sustaining a community garden."


Slow Food USA School Garden Guide

A great guide to starting a school garden! "Build. Grow. Learn."


USDA Resource for Buying Local Fact Sheet

USDA FOODS has a dual mission of supporting domestic agriculture and providing healthy foods to schools. Offerings include a variety of fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables, lean meats, peanut butter, whole wheat grain products, and cheeses. In order to access these healthy options, each state in the country is allocated a certain amount of money, or “entitlement value,” to spend on USDA Foods, based on the number of lunches served in the previous school year. In FY 2014, $1.4 billion in USDA Foods went to schools; in any given year, about 10-15% of the value of food served through the National School Lunch Program comes from USDA Foods.


USDA Geographic Preference Fact Sheet

THE 2008 FARM BILL directed the Secretary of Agriculture to encourage schools to purchase locally grown and locally raised products “to the maximum extent practicable and appropriate.” Further, the Secretary was instructed to allow schools to use a “geographic preference” when procuring locally grown and locally raised unprocessed agricultural products. There are many ways for schools to buy local products for use in federal school meals programs (see USDA’s 10 Facts About Local Food in School Cafeterias). While using geographic preference is not the only option for local food procurement, it is a powerful tool and particularly useful in formal solicitations where respondents are ranked and scored.


USDA Using DOD to Buy Local Fact Sheet

THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (DoD Fresh) allows schools to use their USDA Foods entitlement dollars to buy fresh produce. As of 2014, schools in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam participate; schools received more than $120 million worth of produce during SY 2013-2014.


USDA 10 Facts About Local Food in School Cafeterias


Request for Information Basics for FSDs

Making a Request for Information for farmers to fill out – creating a database of local foods available to your school district! Creating a “Request for Information” a.k.a an “RFI” is a great way to start cataloguing local foods available to your school district. This USDA endorsed procurement step will allow you to have constructive conversations with farmers in your area about selling to your program.


Mississippi Farm Food Safety Checklist

The following checklist is meant to facilitate communication between farmers and potential buyers. This checklist provides background information on the farms from which products are purchased.


Mississippi Growing Calendar

A great way to find out when to plant crops in a school garden, or expect crops to be harvested in your region of the state.


Farm to School: Case Study, Boulder Valley School District

Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) Food Services received a USDA farm to school grant in late 2013 and started implementation in 2014. The primary focus of the grant project was on education and marketing. Its overarching goal was to develop a year-round educational/promotional program to increase student meal counts at breakfast and lunch and improve student acceptance and consumption of locally sourced foods as part of their meals. This was accomplished through a multi-pronged approach that involved engaging many community stakeholders, food service team members, students, school administrators and teachers. Building gardens, teacher trainings and curriculum development, a community harvest festival, students visiting farms, farmers visiting students, local food tastings, harvest of the month, art contests, procurement system improvement for local food, a spring Farmers Market event and writing two manuals so others can learn how to accomplish these achievements also ‒ Boulder went way beyond their own grant goals.


Farm to Preschool: Getting Started with Local Foods Purchasing from EcoTrust

There is no one model for doing Farm to Preschool, and programs may take many forms. Use these tips to help get you started.


Mississippi Farm to School Interagency Council Progress Report

A report from the Mississippi Farm to School Interagency Council on the progress of the council by December 2014.


A Step-by-Step Guide To Purchasing Mississippi Products

In a state with rich agricultural resources, lasting traditions of family farming, and a climate conducive to year-long growing seasons, why are Mississippi’s school children eating fruits and vegetables predominantly shipped from other states and countries? Farm to school programs that connect Mississippi farmers with schools offer a promising way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for students while improving the economic viability of local farms. This step-by-step purchasing guide aims to help school food service directors in Mississippi start to purchase locally grown foods to be served in school meals. Written by Harvard Law School Food Law and Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project Fall 2012


Expanding Farm to School in Mississippi: Analysis and Recommendations by Harvard Law School

Great report from May of 2011


Food Corps

FoodCorps is a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. Serving alongside educators and community leaders, FoodCorps members partner with schools to put in place a three-ingredient recipe for healthy kids, creating a nourishing environment for all students. Our service members provide: Knowledge: food and nutrition education that gives kids the information they need to make smart choices Engagement: hands-on activities like gardening and cooking that foster skills and pride around healthy food Access: lunch trays filled with nutritious meals from local farms


Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education. Find great school garden curriculum here!


Edible Schoolyard

The mission of the Edible Schoolyard Project is to build and share a national edible education curriculum for pre-kindergarten through high school. We envision gardens and kitchens as interactive classrooms for all academic subjects, and a free, nutritious, organic lunch for every student. Integrating this curriculum into schools can transform the health and values of every child in America.


Slow Food USA

Slow Food USA is part of the global Slow Food network of over 100,000 members in more than 150 countries. Through a vast volunteer network of local chapters, youth and food communities, we link the pleasures of the table with a commitment to protect the community, culture, knowledge and environment that make this pleasure possible. Our mission as an international grassroots membership organization is good, clean and fair food for all. Slow Food has a National School Garden program with amazing school garden resources.


The Lunch Box

Our mission is to provide school district administrators, food service directors, and their teams with the tools and resources they need to serve healthy, nutritious, and delicious food to every student, every day. Great resource for recipes!


Mississippians Engaged in Greener Agriculture

MEGA is a non-profit organization founded in Shelby, MS by Co-Lead of the Mississippi Farm to School Network Dorothy Grady-Scarbrough.


Program Example: Growing Healthy Waves at the Tupelo Public School District

TPSD's "Growing Healthy Waves" program works with FoodCorps using "farm to school" principles in order to teach about food and nutrition.


Program Example: Good Food for Oxford Schools at the Oxford School District

Good Food for Oxford Schools (GFOS) is an initiative of the Oxford School District in Oxford, Mississippi to improve cafeteria menus and simultaneously educate students and their families. Overseen by the Child Nutrition Department of the Oxford School System, GFOS leverages “farm to school” principles to bring local farm produce into school cafeterias that serve more cooked-from-scratch and fresh menu items. Working in the classroom with students, and with families after school, GFOS teaches the importance of a nutrient-rich diet that utilizes local foods when available. Education includes classroom lessons that link seeds to plants to meals at the elementary level, and the creation of food-themed clubs for students at the middle and high schools. Work with families includes healthy and delicious cooking classes, shared meals, and experiential learning in grocery stores, at farmers markets, and at area farms. Good Food for Oxford Schools increases knowledge of delicious, healthy, fresh, local foods and extends this learning from the classroom to the cafeteria to home.


The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi

The mission of The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi is to provide educational information and awareness about the impact of tobacco on Mississippi and to improve the culture of health in Mississippi by applying lessons learned in tobacco prevention to other leading causes of death and disease impacting our State and Nation. The Partnership received a USDA Farm to School Support Service Grant in 2014 and is helping to grow farm to school in Mississippi as a way to address the obesity epidemic.


Mississippi State Department of Health Farm to School

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables at an early age can provide children with lifelong healthy eating habits and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Farm-to-school programs connect children with the healthy foods they need when they're away from home. Visit MSDH's website for resources on buying and selling local food to early childcare education programs.


Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Farm to School

The Mississippi Farm to School program was introduced to encourage the serving of locally-grown and locally-produced agricultural products in school meals and to recognize the substantial economic and health benefits of serving locally-grown foods. The program supports local farmers by creating additional marketing opportunities and avenues in which they can sell their product(s). Visit MDAC's website for access to their wonderful farm to school posters and cafeteria line clings!


Mississippi State Extension Agency

The Mississippi State University Extension Service provides research-based information, educational programs, and technology transfer focused on issues and needs of the people of Mississippi, enabling them to make informed decisions about their economic, social, and cultural well-being.


The National Farm to School Network

The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education into school systems and preschools. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. NFSN provides vision, leadership and support at the state, regional and national levels to connect and expand the farm to school movement, which has grown from a handful of schools in the late 1990s to approximately 40,000 schools in all 50 states as of 2012. Our network includes national staff, eight Regional Lead Agencies, 51 State Leads, a 17-member advisory board and thousands of farm to school supporters. NFSN was launched in 2007 by a collaborative of more than 30 organizations seeking to shape the burgeoning farm to school movement. Initially led by staff from the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) and the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) at Occidental College, NFSN is now a project of the Tides Center


Other

A Quick Guide: How to sell fruits and vegetables to Mississippi schools

There are two main routes for selling Mississippi-grown food to schools. Check out this guide to learn more about selling directly to school sites and through the Mississippi Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable (DOD) program through departments of agriculture and education.


Apply for a Mississippi Farm to School Network School Garden Grant!


Addressing Dietetic Internship Competencies through Local Food and Farm to School

From the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project: Dietetic Interns have cited numerous benefits of participation in farm to school programs, including: unique rotation placement for supervised practice hours, civic engagement, opportunities to be a leader among their peers and in the community, and meaningful application of didactic knowledge to nutrition education and food service management projects. Dietetic Interns report they gained hands-on experience in teaching about local food, learned how to effectively educate and work with children, and gained an understanding of how to integrate and work with community partners, skills not always taught in academic programs.


Evaluating Farm to School in Mississippi: Defining Participation Using Mixed Methods Approach

By MSF2SN Intern Sydney Bush: The Mississippi Farm to School Network strives to enhance child nutrition and eradicate food insecurity in the state by connecting school systems with their local food systems. The framework for reaching this goal consists of three central components: local procurement in the cafeteria, school gardening, and nutritional education. To better understand these initiatives in the state and help plan for the future, the UM Center for Population Studies has partnered with the network to evaluate farm to school in Mississippi. The first phase of the evaluation was conducted using publicly-available secondary data, primary data collected from interviews with school district food service directors, and surveys of the Mississippi Farm to School Network and Mississippi Farm to School Conference. Initial findings show potential gaps due to lack of available data reported from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), US Department of Defense (DoD), and the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). Based on the secondary data collected, it is suggested that the definition of participation in farm to school be reexamined to better understand sustained involvement within the state.


School Garden Grants!

The Mississippi Farm to School Network is excited to announce 75 available farm to school grants for schools or school district over the next three years. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded us a three-year grant for school gardens for our proposed Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative efforts with the National Center for Appropriate Technology. As a vital partner in this project, the Mississippi Farm to School Network plays a critical role in insuring we improve health outcomes for vulnerable children and their families by increasing access to healthy foods and improving local food systems in our schools in Mississippi. Applications will be accepted and funded on a rolling basis. For questions, email Dorothy at dorothy.mega@gmail.com.


7 Steps to Creating a School Garden

School gardens can be a great asset to the school environment. However, the process involves careful planning and good management skills. The school garden is not a one person show. Rather, it should be a collaborative effort that involves administrators, students, teachers, parents, and other members of the community. Read on for 7 steps to get you started!


Carrot Camp Snack Recipes from Good Food for Oxford Schools

Check out these easy and fun recipes kids can make for themselves.


Fresh Start Lessons and Guide Book

Excellent farm to school resource for early childcare programs in Mississippi! Developed by Lauren Crosby, these lessons and guide will help plan out a fantastic farm to school program for a pre-school or daycare program.


We Dig It! 5th Grade Math School Garden Curriculum

From Delta Fresh Foods - curriculum tailored to the Mississippi College Readiness Standards for 5th Math.


Community Garden Start Up Guide

This wonderful guide from University of California Davis walks through step by step directions of setting up a community garden. "This "Community Garden Start-Up Guide" is intended to help neighborhood groups and organizations along the path to starting and sustaining a community garden."


Slow Food USA School Garden Guide

A great guide to starting a school garden! "Build. Grow. Learn."


The Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network

The Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network (MSAN) supports healthy farms and communities to develop economically and ecologically responsible local food systems throughout Mississippi.


USDA Selling Local to Schools Fact Sheet

ACROSS THE COUNTRY, an increasing number of schools and districts have begun to source more foods locally and to provide complementary educational activities to students that emphasize food, farming, and nutrition. If you are a local food producer, this means that there are more opportunities than ever to nourish the children who live in your own community. As a farmer, rancher, fisherman, food processor, baker, or other food producer, you can play a role in providing local products to schools to serve during breakfast, lunch, snack times, and supper, and in educating students about food and agriculture.


USDA Resource for Buying Local Fact Sheet

USDA FOODS has a dual mission of supporting domestic agriculture and providing healthy foods to schools. Offerings include a variety of fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables, lean meats, peanut butter, whole wheat grain products, and cheeses. In order to access these healthy options, each state in the country is allocated a certain amount of money, or “entitlement value,” to spend on USDA Foods, based on the number of lunches served in the previous school year. In FY 2014, $1.4 billion in USDA Foods went to schools; in any given year, about 10-15% of the value of food served through the National School Lunch Program comes from USDA Foods.


USDA Geographic Preference Fact Sheet

THE 2008 FARM BILL directed the Secretary of Agriculture to encourage schools to purchase locally grown and locally raised products “to the maximum extent practicable and appropriate.” Further, the Secretary was instructed to allow schools to use a “geographic preference” when procuring locally grown and locally raised unprocessed agricultural products. There are many ways for schools to buy local products for use in federal school meals programs (see USDA’s 10 Facts About Local Food in School Cafeterias). While using geographic preference is not the only option for local food procurement, it is a powerful tool and particularly useful in formal solicitations where respondents are ranked and scored.


USDA Using DOD to Buy Local Fact Sheet

THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (DoD Fresh) allows schools to use their USDA Foods entitlement dollars to buy fresh produce. As of 2014, schools in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam participate; schools received more than $120 million worth of produce during SY 2013-2014.


USDA 10 Facts About Local Food in School Cafeterias


Request for Information Basics for FSDs

Making a Request for Information for farmers to fill out – creating a database of local foods available to your school district! Creating a “Request for Information” a.k.a an “RFI” is a great way to start cataloguing local foods available to your school district. This USDA endorsed procurement step will allow you to have constructive conversations with farmers in your area about selling to your program.


Mississippi Farm Food Safety Checklist

The following checklist is meant to facilitate communication between farmers and potential buyers. This checklist provides background information on the farms from which products are purchased.


Mississippi Growing Calendar

A great way to find out when to plant crops in a school garden, or expect crops to be harvested in your region of the state.


Farm to School: Case Study, Boulder Valley School District

Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) Food Services received a USDA farm to school grant in late 2013 and started implementation in 2014. The primary focus of the grant project was on education and marketing. Its overarching goal was to develop a year-round educational/promotional program to increase student meal counts at breakfast and lunch and improve student acceptance and consumption of locally sourced foods as part of their meals. This was accomplished through a multi-pronged approach that involved engaging many community stakeholders, food service team members, students, school administrators and teachers. Building gardens, teacher trainings and curriculum development, a community harvest festival, students visiting farms, farmers visiting students, local food tastings, harvest of the month, art contests, procurement system improvement for local food, a spring Farmers Market event and writing two manuals so others can learn how to accomplish these achievements also ‒ Boulder went way beyond their own grant goals.


Farm to Preschool: Getting Started with Local Foods Purchasing from EcoTrust

There is no one model for doing Farm to Preschool, and programs may take many forms. Use these tips to help get you started.


Mississippi Farm to School Interagency Council Progress Report

A report from the Mississippi Farm to School Interagency Council on the progress of the council by December 2014.


A Step-by-Step Guide To Purchasing Mississippi Products

In a state with rich agricultural resources, lasting traditions of family farming, and a climate conducive to year-long growing seasons, why are Mississippi’s school children eating fruits and vegetables predominantly shipped from other states and countries? Farm to school programs that connect Mississippi farmers with schools offer a promising way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for students while improving the economic viability of local farms. This step-by-step purchasing guide aims to help school food service directors in Mississippi start to purchase locally grown foods to be served in school meals. Written by Harvard Law School Food Law and Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project Fall 2012


Expanding Farm to School in Mississippi: Analysis and Recommendations by Harvard Law School

Great report from May of 2011


Mississippi Association of Cooperatives

The Mississippi Association of Cooperatives (MAC) was established in 1972 as an affiliate of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (1967). A nonprofit organization, MAC serves farmers, their families and communities in increasing their livelihood security and improving quality of life. Building from a tradition steeped in the Civil Rights Movement, MAC provides technical assistance and advocates for the needs of its members in the areas of cooperative development and networking, sustainable production, marketing and community food security.


Food Corps

FoodCorps is a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. Serving alongside educators and community leaders, FoodCorps members partner with schools to put in place a three-ingredient recipe for healthy kids, creating a nourishing environment for all students. Our service members provide: Knowledge: food and nutrition education that gives kids the information they need to make smart choices Engagement: hands-on activities like gardening and cooking that foster skills and pride around healthy food Access: lunch trays filled with nutritious meals from local farms


Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education. Find great school garden curriculum here!


Edible Schoolyard

The mission of the Edible Schoolyard Project is to build and share a national edible education curriculum for pre-kindergarten through high school. We envision gardens and kitchens as interactive classrooms for all academic subjects, and a free, nutritious, organic lunch for every student. Integrating this curriculum into schools can transform the health and values of every child in America.


Slow Food USA

Slow Food USA is part of the global Slow Food network of over 100,000 members in more than 150 countries. Through a vast volunteer network of local chapters, youth and food communities, we link the pleasures of the table with a commitment to protect the community, culture, knowledge and environment that make this pleasure possible. Our mission as an international grassroots membership organization is good, clean and fair food for all. Slow Food has a National School Garden program with amazing school garden resources.


The Lunch Box

Our mission is to provide school district administrators, food service directors, and their teams with the tools and resources they need to serve healthy, nutritious, and delicious food to every student, every day. Great resource for recipes!


Mississippians Engaged in Greener Agriculture

MEGA is a non-profit organization founded in Shelby, MS by Co-Lead of the Mississippi Farm to School Network Dorothy Grady-Scarbrough.


Program Example: Growing Healthy Waves at the Tupelo Public School District

TPSD's "Growing Healthy Waves" program works with FoodCorps using "farm to school" principles in order to teach about food and nutrition.


Program Example: Good Food for Oxford Schools at the Oxford School District

Good Food for Oxford Schools (GFOS) is an initiative of the Oxford School District in Oxford, Mississippi to improve cafeteria menus and simultaneously educate students and their families. Overseen by the Child Nutrition Department of the Oxford School System, GFOS leverages “farm to school” principles to bring local farm produce into school cafeterias that serve more cooked-from-scratch and fresh menu items. Working in the classroom with students, and with families after school, GFOS teaches the importance of a nutrient-rich diet that utilizes local foods when available. Education includes classroom lessons that link seeds to plants to meals at the elementary level, and the creation of food-themed clubs for students at the middle and high schools. Work with families includes healthy and delicious cooking classes, shared meals, and experiential learning in grocery stores, at farmers markets, and at area farms. Good Food for Oxford Schools increases knowledge of delicious, healthy, fresh, local foods and extends this learning from the classroom to the cafeteria to home.


The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi

The mission of The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi is to provide educational information and awareness about the impact of tobacco on Mississippi and to improve the culture of health in Mississippi by applying lessons learned in tobacco prevention to other leading causes of death and disease impacting our State and Nation. The Partnership received a USDA Farm to School Support Service Grant in 2014 and is helping to grow farm to school in Mississippi as a way to address the obesity epidemic.


Mississippi Food Policy Council

The mission of the MS Food Policy Council is to advocate for food and farm policies that build healthy communities and strengthen local food systems. The Mississippi Food Policy Council was established in April of 2010 and is comprised of stakeholders focused on issues such as hunger, farming, health, nutrition and policy. The steering committee has been comprised of organizations such as: Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, Harvard Law School, Real Food Gulf Coast, Delta Directions Consortium, Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, Mississippi Poultry Association, Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, Indianola Main Street/Indianola Farmers Market, Cole Farms, North Delta Produce Growers Association, Delta Fresh Foods, Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity, Mississippi Farm Bureau, Gulf Coast Health Educators, and Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. Individuals from Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, and several government agencies are also involved.


Delta Fresh Foods

The Delta Fresh Foods Initiative (DFFI) is a diverse coalition of community stakeholders committed to establishing sustainable, equitable community food systems in the Mississippi Delta. Members of the group include growers, consumers, health and agriculture educators, food retailers (including farmers' markets and other outlets), community-based organizations, funders, healthy food advocates and more. DFFI works on farm to school by helping with procurement and school gardens.


Mississippi State Department of Health Farm to School

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables at an early age can provide children with lifelong healthy eating habits and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Farm-to-school programs connect children with the healthy foods they need when they're away from home. Visit MSDH's website for resources on buying and selling local food to early childcare education programs.


Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Farm to School

The Mississippi Farm to School program was introduced to encourage the serving of locally-grown and locally-produced agricultural products in school meals and to recognize the substantial economic and health benefits of serving locally-grown foods. The program supports local farmers by creating additional marketing opportunities and avenues in which they can sell their product(s). Visit MDAC's website for access to their wonderful farm to school posters and cafeteria line clings!


Mississippi State Extension Agency

The Mississippi State University Extension Service provides research-based information, educational programs, and technology transfer focused on issues and needs of the people of Mississippi, enabling them to make informed decisions about their economic, social, and cultural well-being.


The National Farm to School Network

The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education into school systems and preschools. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. NFSN provides vision, leadership and support at the state, regional and national levels to connect and expand the farm to school movement, which has grown from a handful of schools in the late 1990s to approximately 40,000 schools in all 50 states as of 2012. Our network includes national staff, eight Regional Lead Agencies, 51 State Leads, a 17-member advisory board and thousands of farm to school supporters. NFSN was launched in 2007 by a collaborative of more than 30 organizations seeking to shape the burgeoning farm to school movement. Initially led by staff from the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) and the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) at Occidental College, NFSN is now a project of the Tides Center


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