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CDFA Updates

Save the Date: CA Farm to School Network's 2nd Community of Practice Event

California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Farm to Fork (CDFA-F2F) is hosting the California Farm to School Network's second Community of Practice event on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, at 1:30 PM! 

Hosted via Zoom, this event will provide the opportunity for peer-to-peer networking, relationship building, and collaborative problem solving. CDFA-F2F will also provide an update on funding opportunities and the California Farm to School Incubator Grant program.

Stay tuned for next month's newsletter to learn more and register!

Secretary Ross and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom Visit Farm to School Grantee Mt. Diablo Unified School District

California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom (seated) is joined by CDFA Secretary Karen Ross during a recent farm to school tour in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District in Contra Costa County. CDFA-F2F coordinated the tour to demonstrate the importance of integrated farm to school programs that connect climate-smart, California-produced food in cafeterias to food education in classrooms and gardens, as well as at farms and in local communities.

To learn more click here!


Farm to School Incubator Grantee Highlight

California Farm to School Incubator Grant Program grantees are hard at work implementing their projects and transforming the school food system! Read below to see how Rialto Unified School District's project is developing:
November 30, 2021 on TODAY: 
How a California school is feeding kids in need and teaching them to eat healthy
Rialto Unified School District (RUSD) is utilizing Farm to School Incubator Grant Program funds to coordinate between the Rialto Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Cultivating Active Responsible Environmental Stewards (STEM CARES) Program, Grounds & Maintenance Department, and Nutrition Services Department to:
  • increase purchasing of produce from school gardens and school citrus groves for school meals,
  • invest in school garden infrastructure and supplies,
  • expand educational opportunities for students and families in classrooms and school gardens by offering educational workshops and creating a project-based learning curriculum aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards in the area of environmental sustainability,
  • hire a Farm to School Coordinator to coordinate these activities, 
  • compensate Farm to School Site Liaisons at each school to coordinate farm to school opportunities both interdepartmentally and with local communities, and
  • establish community relationships with local food banks and nonprofit organizations to connect families to additional resources through a referral process.

Recently, RUSD was featured on the TODAY show for its incredible work as a changemaker in the school food system! View the video here!
Do you want to learn more about the California Farm to School Incubator Grant Program? Let's talk! Please email your questions to

Procurement Highlights & Resources

Special, One-time Funding Available for California School Food Authorities!


Photo Credit: LunchAssist (Instagram: @lunchassist)

In the 2021–22 state fiscal year, the Legislature appropriated $150 million to the California Department of Education (CDE) to issue kitchen infrastructure and training funds to local educational agencies (LEA). Of the $150 million, $120 million is available for kitchen upgrades to increase student access or improve the quality of fresh and nutritious school meals. The remaining $30 million is available for food service staff to receive training on promoting nutritious meals, which may include food preparation, healthy food marketing, and the school lunch environment.

CDE's opt-in form will be coming soon for:
$2,000+ in funds for school nutrition training
$25,000+ for kitchen equipment and infrastructure

Deadline to opt-in: January 14, 2022, at 5 PM

For more information please visit CDE's webpage regarding AB 130, Universal Meals.

2021 Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan Incorporates Farm to School

Does your community have a food system action plan? The 2021 Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan (Regional Action Plan) is now public online, and it includes farm to school! The Regional Action Plan was developed by Valley Vision with the support of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation to identify challenges, opportunities, best practices, priorities, and recommendations to improve the region's food system for El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, and Yolo counties.

The goal of the Regional Action Plan is to increase the vitality of the region’s food system and to identify financing strategies and mechanisms to support a more health-promoting, resilient, equitable, prosperous, and accessible food system for all residents of the Greater Sacramento region. 

To learn more about recommended actions to improve the food system throughout the capital area, and to see how farm to school can help transform a regional food system, check out the 2021 Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan!


School Garden Highlight

Student Farming Experiences at Chula Vista High School


Photo Credit: Chula Vista High School (Instagram: @studentfarmers_cvhs)

Students at Chula Vista High School (CVHS) are staying busy and gaining lots of hands-on experiences in the garden - including planting, installing irrigation, putting up a trellis, and harvesting! Currently, students are studying about food waste and have begun composting the leftover fruit from the cafeteria. Their gardens are thriving since they started making their own soil!

To learn more follow @studentfarmers_cvhs, or contact us via email at to learn more about school gardens.

Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary School Encourages Donating Leftover Water for Plants

Photo Credit: Santiago STEAM Garden (Instagram: @santiagosteamgarden)

Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary School in Orange County, California, has been making amazing developments for its outdoor spaces! One of these developments includes an opportunity to recycle and reuse water on campus. Students and staff can now empty their water bottles in the designated location (pictured above) to water the plants! 

To learn more follow @santiagosteamgarden, or contact us via email at to learn more about school gardens.

Funding Opportunities

One Month Left to Apply for the 2022 USDA Farm to School Grant

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 2022 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications (RFA) is due next month! USDA expects to award approximately $12 million in competitive grants to eligible entities in FY 2022. Each grant helps implement farm to school programs that increase access to local food in Child Nutrition Program (CNP) meals, connect children with agriculture for better health, and inspire youth to consider careers in agriculture.

The RFA includes three tracks: Implementation, State Agency, and Turnkey. Each track provides funding for a specific range of activities. Learn more here!

Deadline to apply: January 10, 2022, 11:59 PM ET

Job Opportunities

Life Lab Job Opportunities

Life Lab is seeking energetic, experienced and dedicated individuals to join the team! The following full-time positions are currently open:

Pajaro Valley Partner Schools Program Sites Leader
The Pajaro Valley Partner Schools Program Sites Leader collaborates with the Pajaro Valley Partner Schools Program Leader, Training and Curriculum Specialist, School Gardeners, and a team of Garden and Nutrition Instructors to create positive, healthy, supportive learning and growth environments for children in Life Lab's local programs around Watsonville.

Garden Instructor in Pajaro Valley Unified School District
(4 open positions) 
Garden Instructors are the heart of a growing Life Lab partnership with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) to provide rich, garden-based learning and social-emotional wellbeing for more than 7,000 students across 16 elementary schools. In addition to working directly with TK-5 students at garden classrooms at each school, Garden Instructors also co-create and implement programs for family involvement in the gardens and family cooking nights with their school site communities.

Nutrition Instructor in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District
Life Lab seeks an energetic, skilled and dedicated educator who has a passion for engaging elementary-age children, as well as a devotion to teaching experiential Cooking and Nutrition Education classes and supporting district Food and Nutrition Services staff in farm to school efforts. The ideal candidate will help shape Life Lab and Nutrition Services programs for sustainability and future growth.

Learn more here.


National Farm to School Network Resources

Call for Session Proposals: National Children & Youth Garden Symposium

Deadline to submit: January 7, 2022

The American Horticultural Society is pleased to announce its 30th annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium (NCYGS), the only national professional development event of its kind where they are cultivating tomorrow's gardeners by energizing, inspiring, and training today's garden educators. Now's your chance to share your expertise with garden educators by presenting a session! Session presenters receive a discounted registration rate to attend the symposium. Please reference these tips and guidelines and submit your session proposal online by January 7, 2022. 

To view this week's full National Farm to School Network Newsletter click here.

Get Involved: We Want to Hear From You!



Do you have feedback, ideas or a success story for the CA Farm to School Network? Please reach out to us and share! Whether it's sending us an email or tagging us on social media, we are here to help you grow!

Instagram - @cafarmtoschool

It's our goal to support changemakers on the ground however we can, and the best way for us to provide that help is through clear communication! Choose your favorite method to get in touch!

Copyright © 2021 CDFA Office of Farm to Fork, All rights reserved.

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