February Round-Up: Last Month's Top News, Opportunities & Resources

As we welcome the first days of March, we're gathering up all the best bits of what February brought our Louisiana farm to school community. Here we've put together the past month's F2S highlights along with what we're looking forward to in the coming weeks!

  1. We loved seeing Louisiana school North Rapides Elementary make local headlines with their Louisiana Harvest of the Month Program! Be sure to check out the coverage here
  2. Our favorite national F2S story this past month? This coverage of BK Rot, a youth-run composting service in Brooklyn, gave us a big dose of inspiration. "The combination of BK Rot’s many aspects—creating green jobs for young people, raising local awareness about composting, and opening up public space—makes it a useful example of creatively addressing large-scale problems, even on a small scale."
  3. February brought a real abundance of funding opportunities for all manner of farm to school initiatives! If your F2S program is seeking funding for the coming year, we highly recommend checking these out: Smart from the Start awards are aimed at supporting practical, long-term improvements to nutrition and physical activity at the preschool level. The fast approaching deadline to apply is this Thursday, March 3rd, 2016! The USDA has announced two cooperative agreement funding opportunities to enhance food safety under the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The USDA has also announced 2016 NSLP Equipment Assistance Grants to support school food authorities' efforts to serve healthier meals, improve food safety, and expand access. And finally, don't forget that the Farm to School Grant Program schedule has been updated
  4. Looking ahead to March, Foodapalooza is just around the corner! CLEDA's Fourth Annual Foodapalooza, a free event celebrating Louisiana's local food movement, will take place Friday, March 11, 2016 at the Kress Theatre in Alexandria. And while we're on the subject, March and April are jam-packed with wonderful local events and exciting teaching webinars. Check out our LAF2S calendar to keep updated!
  5. If you haven't yet, be sure to catch The Mississippi Farm to School Network's new farm-to-caf how-to video, "A Guide for Farmers." The short video is wonderfully instructive for any growers that might be navigating (or considering navigating) the process of forging relationships with schools. We highly recommend for growers, food service workers, administrators and everyone in between! 
  6. And as a little somethin' extra, we wanted to spotlight some of the incredible work happening at our Seed Change Demonstration Sites! This past month, Rayville High School's farm to school program, managed by Rory Gresham, has harvested over 1,200 heads of lettuce from the on-site greenhouse to be served in the school's cafeteria! And this coming Thursday, agriscience teacher Brandon Broussard and child nutrition coordinator Celeste Hay have arranged for Acadiana High School to serve farm raised chickens (raised by agriscience students) as part of the students' lunches. This information got a bit mixed up in our recent February newsletter and we want to be certain folks are being acknowledged for all the wonderful work they're doing. We are so inspired by their work and are excited to have these farm to school champions as members of our LAF2S community!