Follow Up: October Florida Food Forum
Farm to School
If you were unable to attend the meeting, the full presentation is available online here. You can also view the presentation in this pdf.
To keep the conversation going, please visit our forum on Farm to School here to add your thoughts and comments.
On October 25th, the October Florida Food Forum on Farm to School was led by Jeannie Necessary. During the presentation, she gave an overview about Florida's SNAP-Ed and UF IFAS/Extension Family Nutrition Program (FNP), FNP regional specialists, and farm to school initiatives.
Jeannie explained the mission of UF IFAS/Extension Family Nutrition Program is to help, “limited-resource families in Florida access more nutritious food choices on a budget and adopt healthier eating a physical activity habits to reduce the risk of obesity and chronic disease.”
Currently the program provides free nutrition education in 40 counties to SNAP-eligible Florida families.
The FNP Program focuses on three main areas: creating healthy schools, creating healthy communities, and creating healthy child care centers.
Jeannie introduced specific programs and initiatives related to creating healthy schools like: farm to school gardens, school to garden cafeterias, the Alachua County Food Hub, and Florida Crunch.
One policy that was highlighted in the presentation was the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Procedure B-18, whose purpose is to incorporate school garden produce into the school food service program.
Jeannie noted that this kind of policy enables gardens in schools to act as a learning lab for students and teachers to be able to participate in a specific type of learning that involves touching, feeling, smelling, harvesting and understanding where food comes from.
“I’m happy to say that I’ve seen over the years so many students change their minds about whether they liked radishes at the beginning of the school year. Once they planted and tasted them, they did enjoy radishes. And understanding that a cucumber…actually comes from a plant.”
In areas where schools are interested in creating similar policies, it is possible to take Miami-Dade’s policy as an example to educate school districts as “the policy focuses on food safety and the best and safest way to incorporate produce into the school food service program.”
Following the presentation, attendees gave perspectives and asked various questions about the topics presented.
Jeannie is employed at the University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program as the State Food Systems Specialist. She holds Bachelor degrees in communications and political science from the University of Miami. Jeannie has more than 13 years of experience with childhood nutrition programs focused on gardening, cooking, and food insecurity.
Disclaimer: The views of the presenters do not represent the views of the Florida Food Policy Council. We are a forum for the offering and sharing of information and encourage diversity and communication within the food system.