Day 3 Recap: Moving forward together

Posted by on Jun 5, 2016 in Latest News | 0 comments

On our final day together at the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, attendees flooded Dane County Farmers’ Market, the country’s largest producer-only farmers market, on the Capitol Square. Supporting local farmers and a local food economy is at the heart of our work, and Wisconsin offers an inspiring display of a vibrant and connected local food system. The morning opened with a multi-media presentation showcasing farm to cafeteria champions from across Wisconsin. Emceed by Tony Schultz, Farmer, Stoney Acres Farm, and Frankie Soto, Food Service Director, Abbotsford School District Food Service, attendees heard stories of success from farm to cafeteria partners including farmers, school food service directors, a hospital dietician and a local co-op manager. Farmer Chris Blakeney, Amazing Grace Family Farm, shared that his successful partnerships in selling to schools allowed him to quit his full-time, off farm job. Saturday’s program included two workshop sessions. A total of 48, 90-minute workshops organized into 12 topics were offered during the conference. Among Saturday’s workshops were conversations and hands-on learning opportunities for training classroom educators to be strong school garden users, curricula ideas for early care and education providers, and tips for navigating federal, state and local policy landscapes to maximize farm to cafeteria efforts. Our food conference would not have been complete without delicious meals featuring locally sourced ingredients. During Saturday’s lunch, we gave a standing ovation to Monona Catering in thanks for serving our 1,000+ attendees fresh, locally sourced meals. Saturday’s lunch included Wisconsin Rice and Wisconsin Cranberry Salad, a local bean salad, roasted local root vegetables, and chilled asparagus soup. Throughout the conference, we asked attendees to use paper plates to share what they love about farm to school and what child nutrition programs mean to their community. With the Child Nutrition Reauthorization process moving forward, now is an important time to take action and share with Congress why school meals are important. Soon, we’ll deliver these paper plates to legislators on Capitol Hill, sending a message that farm to school and school lunch programs are growing a healthier next generation. Open Forum, a perennial conference favorite, was held on Saturday afternoon. Open Forum gave attendees the opportunity to create discussion groups around the topics they’re most passionate about. Ideas were submitted and voted on using the conference mobile app. More than 20 discussion topics were selected, including state farm to school policy, farm to summer, forming a farm to college network, farm incubator start ups, state agencies in farm to cafeteria, and using farm to school to drive racial equity. The Closing Plenary included keynote addresses from two food movement leaders who shared inspirational stories and lessons about creating strong and just local food systems. Matthew Raiford, Executive...

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Welcome from Anupama Joshi

Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Latest News | 0 comments

Greetings conference attendees, Welcome to Madison and the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference! We couldn’t be more excited about the incredible lineup of presenters and workshops that will fill the following several days, the opportunities to get to know your partners in this work, and the creative ideas that will germinate in Madison and take root in your communities into the future. This event is an opportunity to learn from your colleagues across the spectrum of the farm to cafeteria movement – in schools, hospitals, universities, government agencies, childcare centers, food hubs and more. It’s this cross-pollination of ideas and settings that inspired this year’s conference theme: Moving Forward Together. Whether you are learning about building networks or local procurement strategies, I challenge you to think about how innovative partnerships will help us build the momentum necessary to ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. As you arrive into town, we hope you take advantage of the vibrant local food culture and scenic location that Madison offers us this year. Go by bike with Madison BCycle, visit the nation’s largest producer-only farmers market or take a walk along Lake Monona with a new friend. The moments in between workshop sessions will be some of the most valuable, so come ready to engage in new conversations and experiences throughout the week. Thank you to our local partners who have shaped this conference to be a valuable and fun opportunity for all of us. Special recognition goes to our fantastic and hard-working local hosts, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems; Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; and Community GroundWorks. On behalf of the entire National Farm to School Network, and our local hosts, welcome to Madison! Sincerely, Anupama Joshi Executive Director and Co-Founder National Farm to School...

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