COLUMBUS, Ohio – More than 250 farmers, producers, educators, school food service professionals, business leaders and Ohio State University Extension experts are expected to attend a statewide conference on the Farm to School program, with a goal to continue to get more fresh, locally grown and produced foods into more school cafeterias.
OSU Extension will host the Farm to School conference March 13, 2013, as part of an effort to continue to expand the successful program, which works to increase students’ access to healthy foods and to help them learn more about food, health, nutrition and agriculture.
Farm to School is a national program, which in Ohio is led by OSU Extension and is supported by numerous agencies, foundations and industry organizations. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
“The dynamic part of this conference is that it brings together all types of leaders involved in making pre-K through college Farm to School programs work across the state,” said Julie Fox, director of Ohio State’s Farm to School program.
The conference theme is “Let’s Grow Farm to School,” and will feature keynote presentations, 10 breakout sessions, a curriculum showcase and other displays designed to showcase opportunities farmers, schools and community leaders have to work together to increase students' access to healthy foods.
In addition, there will also be plenty of networking opportunities, she said.
Sessions will include:
- School Food Procurement, Opportunities for Food Service Buyers and Ohio Farmers
- Forming Farm to School Partnerships
- Food Safety
- School Gardens
- Finding Farm to School Funding and Resources
- Why Farm to School
- Marketing Farm to School
“The objective of the conference is to provide education for those interested in initiating or expanding a Farm to School program and to provide connections to build and strengthen program networks,” Fox said. “The conference is also designed to support participants as they make a difference in their communities and to provide opportunities to unite professionals and their perspectives on food, health or agriculture.”
In addition to providing young people with fresh, local food, Farm to School also helps them understand where their food comes from and how food choices affect their health, environment and community.
The Farm to School Advisory Group is finalizing conference details and accepting conference sponsors, Fox said. Registration information will be available on the conference website at http://go.osu.edu/FarmToSchool.
For more information on Ohio’s Farm to School program, visit http://farmtoschool.osu.edu.