U of I Extension educates school, community members at Farm to School Summit

Staff Report

FREEPORT, Ill. — University of Illinois Extension and Blackhawk Hills Regional Council will hold a Farm to School Summit in recognition of October’s designation as Farm to School Month.

The Farm to School Summit will be at the Highland Community College Student Conference Center from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 19, and is an event designed to educate and inform community members, school board members, teachers and administrators about Farm to School, and give them ideas about how they can incorporate Farm to School into their school system.

Specific topics include “Farm to School Overview,” “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools,” “Making a School Garden Sustainable,” “Supporting Local Foods in Cafeterias” and “Developing Ag Education in High Schools.”

The Farm to School Summit will give stakeholders additional information about nutrition, school gardens, local food, agriculture education, and grants and resources that can help establish or transform a farm to school program,” said Grant McCarty, U of I Extension’s new Local Foods Systems and Small Farms Educator.

McCarty has been meeting with local producers across the northern Illinois region to discuss best growing practices and disease management strategies, and will lend his expertise to the summit.

Julia Govis, coordinator of the Illinois Farm to School Network, will also participate in the summit.

The designation of October as Farm to School month continues to help build awareness for the Farm to School program and its activities in Illinois,” said Govis.

In October 2012, Govis presented an Illinois Farm to School Teacher of the Year Award to Brendan Schultz, Pecatonica High School agriculture teacher. Schultz was recognized for his ongoing work with high school agriculture students, his work establishing a school community garden and outdoor classroom, and his leadership of the local FFA Chapter.

Farm to School Summit will be in Room 210 of the Highland Community College Student Conference Center (parking lot A). There is no cost to attend this program, but pre-registration is required. To register or for more information, call U of I Extension at (815) 235-4125 or visit web.extension.illinois.edu/jsw.

Although the summit will be held in Stephenson County, this event is a continuation of Extension’s extensive local foods and horticulture-related programming throughout the northern Illinois region. For more about Rockford-area programming, including Extension’s involvement with establishing community gardens, youth-led gardening activities, Openfields Local Foods dinners, the Northern Illinois Local Foods Directory, and upcoming programs such as a Grant-Writing Workshop and Season Extension Symposium, contact the Winnebago County Extension office at (815) 986-4357.

From the Oct. 16-22, 2013, issue

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