Happy Summer! We at the Farm to Cafeteria Network hope you are enjoying plenty of sunshine, time in the garden, and the fresh, local produce that is abundant this time of year. We invite you to take just a few minutes out of your summertime activities to read about the upcoming Montana Farm to School Summit: Sprouting Success, to be held in Bozeman on September 22 and 23. Trace a school meal from field to tray or visit a school garden, hear from nationally renowned school lunch advocate Chef Ann Cooper, and share your stories of farm to school success. Register today; you don’t want to miss it!

Square register now Sprouting SuccessThe 2016 Montana Farm to School Summit is hosted by Montana Team Nutrition Program, Montana State University, Montana Office of Public Instruction, Gallatin Valley Farm to School, Montana Department of Agriculture, Montana Roots, National Center for Appropriate Technology, and other statewide partners. As a follow-up to the 2012 statewide farm to school conference, the Summit promises to be both inspiring and instructive. Keynote speaker Chef Ann Cooper will provide a national view on how schools can improve their meals to support healthy kids and sustainable agriculture. (You can learn more about Chef Ann and the Chef Ann Foundation here.) Montana farm to school champions will share stories of success, and there will be time for networking and swapping strategies and tips among conference attendees.

In addition to stories of schools and communities “sprouting success,” pre-conference workshops and field trips and the breakout sessions during the conference are designed to build specific skills, such as tying school gardens to curriculum, efficiently preparing fresh and whole foods for school meals, and promoting your farm to school program through social media. See the Registration page for a description of the pre-conference workshops and field trips!

Kale grows in a Montana school garden

Kale grows in a Montana school garden

Continuing education credits are available for teachers, school food service professionals, and early care and education providers. The conference has something for everyone interested in farm to school: school food service, teachers, school administrators, food producers, preschool and childcare providers, parents, community members, and support organizations. Conference organizer Aubree Roth explains the draw for some of these farm to school stakeholders:

“Producers can come and learn about the process and opportunities for working with schools as well as make connections with potential buyers and partners at schools. A parent can explore their role and find out how they can help build a farm to school or school garden program at their child’s school and how they can support existing programs in their communities. A teacher or principal can get actual lessons and connections to educational standards for farm to school activities.” 

The 2016 Montana Farm to School Summit will also be a wonderful opportunity for all stakeholders to learn about the Montana Harvest of the Month program. Harvest of the Month breakout sessions will prepare schools and afterschool programs to participate in the program and school representatives will be able to register and pick up materials on site.

Mark your calendar for September 22-23, 2016, at Montana State University in Bozeman and register here today!