California Farm to School Network (CFSN) Honors Winners of Inaugural Golden Seed Awards

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Nonprofit recognizes over 30 California schools and districts during National Farm to School Month

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As institutions of learning and growth, schools aren’t often in the business of boasting about their accomplishments, but the Golden Seed Awards have given them a platform to do just that.

The California Farm to School Network (CFSN), a project of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), a California nonprofit organization that builds sustainable food and farming systems through policy advocacy and on-the-ground programs, today announced the winning schools in its inaugural California Farm to School Network Golden Seed Awards. The awards highlight farm to school efforts throughout the state. CFSN honored winners across 11 regions and three award categories, including Sow, Grow and Harvest. In addition, nearly 20 schools and districts were recognized with honorable mentions.

The Golden Seed Awards were created to recognize farm to school champions and foster recognition of California schools and districts that are beginning to grow their farm to school programs. The statewide contest also gave schools an opportunity to apply and become part of CFSN. Applicants were evaluated on their unique and innovative programs as well as their contributions to the three pillars of farm to school: procurement, education and gardens.

“As institutions of learning and growth, schools aren’t often in the business of boasting about their accomplishments, but the Golden Seed Awards have given them a platform to do just that,” said Allie Hoffman, program manager at CAFF. “Many of the winners have been at the forefront of the national farm to school movement, inspiring others along the way. The Golden Seed Awards provides a platform for winners to share innovations and best practices.”

Sixteen schools and districts received passes to the 2017 California Farm to School Conference and pre-conference field trips, and nineteen honorable mention winners were given $100 stipends toward the event. All winners will receive certificates and be recognized at the biennial conference, which strives to engage and inspire schools as they build connections and learn about other farm to school programs.

The Golden Seed Awards were supported by a donation from Whole Foods Market Northern California and Reno (WFMNC). Through its annual fundraising effort this spring, WFMNC gave 5 percent of all customer purchases to local nonprofit CAFF. CFSN partners Urban and Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) and Life Lab voted on the awards. The full list of 2016 nominees and winners includes:

Harvest Award

To have been eligible for a Harvest award, the program needed to be integrated across the three pillars of farm to school (gardens, procurement and nutrition education) and demonstrate staying power.

  • Manteca Unified School District
  • Julian Union Elementary School District
  • Fort Bragg Unified School District
  • Oakland Unified School District
  • Live Oak School District
  • Pacific Elementary School

Grow Award

To have been eligible for a Grow award, the program needed to be thriving in at least two of the pillars of farm to school.

  • Upland Unified School District
  • San Rafael City Schools
  • Juniper Elementary School
  • Natomas Unified School District
  • Winters Joint Unified School District

Sow Award

To have been eligible for a Sow award, the program needed to be new and/or not completely integrated across the pillars, and it should demonstrate great opportunity for growth and connection.

  • Valley Springs Elementary
  • Oak Park Unified School District
  • Solvang Elementary School
  • Oxnard Union High School District
  • Cobb Mountain Elementary School

Honorable Mention

Honoring programs at all levels that are doing excellent farm to school work with demonstrated opportunities for growth.

  • Montebello Unified School District
  • Napa Valley Unified School District
  • Jefferson Elementary School District
  • Madrona Elementary
  • Rosamond Elementary School
  • San Mateo-Foster City School District
  • Vallecito Union
  • Sweetwater Union High School District
  • Santa Clara Unified
  • Nevada Union High School
  • Del Norte Unified School District
  • Calaveras Unified
  • Pasadena Unified School District
  • Paso Robles Unified School District
  • Berkeley Unified School District
  • San Diego Unified School District
  • Grimmway Academy
  • Mountain View Whisman
  • Sierra House Elementary

“We are thrilled to have been honored as a 2016 Harvest Golden Seed Award recipient by the California Farm to School Network,” said Alexandra Emmott, farm to school supervisor at the Oakland Unified School District. “The 2016-17 school year marks the 10-year anniversary of Oakland's farm to school program, which CAFF helped us launch in 2007. We look forward to many more years of partnership both with CAFF and with the many exceptional farm to school practitioners across California.”

Through the collection of data gathered during the contest, CFSN will discover what the current reach and impact of farm to school efforts are in California and will publish a report of their findings later this month. Additionally, in honor of National Farm to School Month, CFSN has encouraged schools and districts to participate in a CRUNCH activity, where students simultaneously bite into locally sourced fruits or vegetables on October 24.

CFSN connects students and their schools to local farming communities in both the classroom and in the cafeteria. The farm to school initiative not only brings local food into schools, but also builds institutionalized systems changes from within by working directly with school staff on such things as purchasing collaboratives and policies.

CAFF supports and advocates for family farmers and sustainable agriculture, while providing fresh, nutritious food in school cafeterias through initiatives like its farm to school program.

For more information about CAFF and its Farm to School program, please visit: http://www.caff.org/.

To register for the 2017 California Farm to School Conference, which opens on October 17, please visit: http://www.cafarmtoschoolconference.org.

About The California Farm to School Network

The California Farm to School Network is a project of CAFF, in partnership with Urban and Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) and Life Lab. More information can be found at http://www.cafarmtoschool.org. CAFF is a non-profit organization working statewide to advocate for family farmers and sustainable agriculture. For more information please visit http://www.caff.org.

About Community Alliance with Family Farmers

Founded in 1978, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) is a California-based nonprofit that builds sustainable food and farming systems through local and statewide policy advocacy and on-the-ground programs in an effort to initiate institutionalized change. CAFF’s programs address current problems and challenges in food and farming systems, creating more resilient family farms, communities and ecosystems. CAFF works to support family farmers and serves community members within the state, including consumers, food service directors, schoolchildren and low-income populations. For more information, please visit: http://www.caff.org/.

This project is supported by Whole Foods Market Northern California and Reno and the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Contacts:
Allie Hoffman
Community Alliance with Family Farmers
farmtoschool(at)caff.org

Kristi Lane
kristi(at)shevrushpr.com
785-393-2261

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