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The Farm to School Coalition of NC Summit

The Farm to School Coalition of NC was excited to host a statewide summit in 2019. The summit brought together practitioners to share knowledge and build capacity in farm to school.

Summit History and Goals

Summit session

Multiple statewide surveys in 2017 and 2018 named the need for a state convening as the top desired action for the Farm to School Coalition of NC. Out of this, we developed a two-day summit, offering concurrent sessions, hands-on activities, exhibits, awards ceremony, and local foods lunch as well as pre-summit field trips with half and full-day intensive workshops.

The goals of the summit were to –

  • provide educational and networking opportunities;
  • address all components of Farm to School;
  • and celebrate stakeholders with the inaugural Farm to School Awards.

Farm to School of North Carolina Awards

Awards History

2019 Summit Field trip

There are many entry points as schools and communities engage in Farm to School, and what we love about farm to school is that we all start with our strengths. Some Local Education Agencies (LEAs) focus on garden and nutrition education in the classroom, while others develop relationships with local farmers to provide fresh produce on their lunch lines. The 2019 Farm to School Awards Program was launched both to highlight and share out examples of how LEAs in North Carolina engaged in farm to school, their successes, and learned lessons.

Awards Criteria

The uniqueness of farm to school is that there is no one size fits all. There are many entry points. To provide a map of numerous entry points, the awards criteria were broken down into multiple areas of work, both to measure the specific areas of effort and to inspire creative avenues for beginning new or deepening existing areas of impact.

Award Criteria

Award Winners

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Outstanding

An overall assessment by the review team based on commitment to diverse stakeholders, a comprehensive and wholistic approach, innovative use of resources, innovative activities, the ability to share out learned lessons, and ability to serve as a vocal champion of farm to school.

Durham Public Schools

Applying a Racial Equity lens is important to our work in Farm to School, because we want to make sure that we are: supporting our local POC farmers so that their businesses can thrive, honoring Durham's agricultural history which has strong roots with POC farmers, and respecting the traditions and cultures of the students we are teaching.

Asheville City Schools

On top of the dedication to purchasing as much local as possible, as consistently as possible, ACS is dedicated to communicating that out, with their own students and staff and parents and beyond. They have a regular social media campaign, changing signage, and large displays that keep a constant message of tying local food to health.  Gardens and cooking are visible parts of schools and compostable trays and a district wide composting pick up both teaches students environmentally responsible practices, but also makes a difference in the district footprint.  Across the curriculum students are taught the connections between healthy bodies and minds and a healthy life style for communities.  ACS has a three-year partnership with Integrated Comprehensive System (ICS) for Equity, a consulting group that is addressing root causes and educational needs around inequities in schools.

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Gold

Durham Public Schools

  • Community engagement: County Commissioner is one of their 5 top leaders in F2S
  • 53 out of 53 schools served local products purchased through the NC Farm to School Program and local businesses
  • District owned educational farm adjacent to 3 schools
  • Integrated hands-on F2S cross curriculum education
  • Racial equity trainings offered by DPS for nutrition staff and by local organization for teachers

Asheville City Schools 

  • 13% of produce purchased comes from local farms; 10 out of 10 schools serving local products
  • Farm to School and school gardens named in district wellness policy
  • Food and Agriculture Equity classes plus district level partnership for goal of Excellence in Equity
  • Integrated hands-on F2S cross curriculum education
  • Compostable trays; district composting with compost returned to school gardens

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Silver

Halifax County Schools

  • On farm Professional Development for School Nutrition professionals
  • Sourcing from both the NCDA Farm to School program and local distributor
  • 10 out of 10 schools serving local products
  • District-run, GAP-certified farm that sources to School Nutrition
  • Extensive list of community partners in F2S
  • Mission and vision policy names F2S as a tool for enterprise, access, and community partnerships

Kannapolis City Schools

  • Multiple professional development trainings offered for teachers on incorporating of standards in the garden
  • Integrated cross curriculum education
  • Cooking and taste testing through culinary arts program
  • Gardens in all 8 schools with integrated garden education meeting standards

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Bronze

Chapel Hill/Carrboro City Schools

  • 19 out of 19 schools served local products
  • All schools compost, recently hitting 1 million pounds
  • 3 farmers markets at Elementary level

Cumberland County Schools

  • Go Green program for composting
  • Farm visits
  • Strong Future Farmers of America in classroom
  • Farm to Table dinner prepared by students

Edgecombe County Public Schools 

  • 13 out of 14 schools served local; district diverts funds to fruit and vegetables
  • Partnering with an individual farmer
  • Fresh Fruits & Vegetable participation and cooking lessons with FoodCorps
  • Gardening lessons and on farm activities

Lenoir County Public Schools 

  • 17 out of 17 schools served local products
  • Agriculture education and cooking with master gardeners, local businesses, community college culinary arts
  • Field trips to farms and agriculture centers

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Honorary

Beaufort County Schools

  • USDA Farm to School recipient; repurposing a school kitchen into a processing kitchen
  • Locally-grown and processed collards 2-3 times every month
  • Farm field trips to Southside Farms and Briley Farms

Orange County Schools

  • Community partnerships: Orange County Economic Development funding “Good Agricultural Practices” (GAP) certification
  • Orange County Food Council prioritizing F2S
  • 12 out of 13 schools serving local food
  • 100 days of a local food items served
  • Try it Fridays taste tests

Sampson County Schools

  • 18 out of 18 schools served local food
  • 90 days of a local food item served
  • Jr. Chef Finalists: Hobbton High Colanders' chicken fajita bowl