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Ag Diversification and Market Development Bureau
FFA FFA – Growing Together

Farm to School is about so much more than food.  Farm to School also encompasses education, community and more importantly an appreciation for what is involved in producing the food that nurtures us. 

The support to incorporate locally-grown “garden” produce into our schools through inclusion in meals and snacks has never been greater.  In recent years we produced a Q&A for School Food Authorities (SFAs) brochure addressing some of the most common issues related to Farm to School.  This was done as a collaborative effort through the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in an attempt to help alleviate some questions and barriers to getting locally-grown produce into the schools. 

In 2012 we offered the first “A Garden is the Way to Grow,” initiative to help schools start school gardens.  Last year we launched an FFA initiative entitled “Growing Together.”  As a part of this initiative, we provided participating FFA Chapters with refractometers and sap extractors. 

This year, we are offering both programs again.  As a part of the FFA initiative, we are offering chapters grow lights for their classrooms.   In return, FFA chapters need to establish a garden or increase their current garden and show support to get at least one garden item incorporated into a school meal.  A final Performance Report will be required.  Applications need to be submitted no later than March 24, 2014.  Only 20 chapters will be approved.    If you would like more information regarding the “A Garden is the way to Grow,” initiative, go to our website:  http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/AgDiversification/farmToSchoolProgram.asp
  
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


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