Farm to School Goes Hands-on for Spring

On March 24, 2015, the Center for Rural Affairs is holding a Farm to School Regional Conference in Beatrice, Nebraska. Building on the Top 10 Things We Learned at the Summit last fall, we’ve got a fresh, new line up for spring.

At workshops held last winter, food service professionals requested hands-on cooking demonstrations. They wanted more ideas for using fresh Nebraska foods, especially how to simplify their use in a school kitchen. That’s why we’re excited to partner with Southeast Community College’s food service and culinary program to provide a live food service demonstration, followed by a tasting.

Ever wonder what ingredients lead to a successful Farm to School program? Norris Public Schools and Litchfield Public Schools are sending their Farm to School teams to share what has made their efforts so successful. Both have school gardens, greenhouses, and successful partnerships with local producers.

This session is a must for all schools in varying stages of Farm to School. For those just getting started, you’ll learn how two very different schools in Nebraska approach Farm to School. And for schools already implementing programs, you’ll find new ideas to customize the program to fit your school.
We’ve also invited small to mid-size producers as panelists, along with folks from USDA, Nebraska Department of Ag, UNL Meat Lab, and UNL-Extension. The panel will combine working knowledge from the field as well as what you need to expand your market to schools. Farmers will find resources on distribution, local meat regulation, marketing, and food safety. You’ll also find schools and supportive organizations to partner with.

Everyone dining at your table will speak your language during our Birds of a Feather style “school lunch.” Restaurateur, caterer, and beef producer Bev Acton, owner of Classics Restaurant in Beatrice, will provide lunch featuring locally produced beef accompanied by other Nebraska produced food. The meal will be completely replicable for use in school cafeterias and kitchens.

Plan to arrive early and enjoy coffee while connecting with others prior to the opening. Stay late to join the optional guided tour of the Southeast Community College Ag Facilities and Greenhouse. But don’t fret if you can do neither. Opportunities to network, connect with exhibitors, and join conversations around you will be happening all day.

Please plan to join us! View the full agenda here.


Feature image: Radishes ready to harvest in the Litchfield Public Schools Greenhouse, Litchfield, NE. They are one of a dozen schools participating in the Center's Farm to School initiative.