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Farm to Summer Celebration Week

Information about California’s Farm to Summer Celebration Week for summer meal program operators, including background, how to participate, past successes, trainings, partners, resources, best practices, and list of awardees.

Overview

Farm to Summer (F2Summer) is about program operators of the Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) sourcing local foods and providing complementary educational activities that emphasize food, agriculture, and nutrition. The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) encourages program operators of the Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Option to participate in F2Summer activities.

F2Summer Week in California is celebrated during one week in June each year. For the summer of 2023, June 19–23, 2023 is F2Summer Week! This week is dedicated to celebrating local foods on the menu, offering a test taste sample in your meals, and providing opportunities for children to experience agricultural-based education activities. Some ideas for celebrating F2Summer Week include: incorporating local foods in your food service, providing an agricultural or nutrition education lesson, sharing current successes with another program operator, watching a virtual farm tour, or inviting community partners (such as a farmer, master gardener, parent volunteer or local health department staff) to your site to lead an activity!

F2Summer Celebration Week is an award program that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees at the federal level and the CDE NSD implements at the state level. The NSD recognizes program operators of the CNPs in California that complete the three elements: 1) Taste, 2) Teach and 3) Connect Summer Celebration Activities during the designated F2Summer Week. Program operators that participate by completing a pre and post survey and the three elements of the Celebration week will receive a One in a Melon Award Certificate!

To learn about Farm to School, visit the Farm to School Web page.

To celebrate National Farm to School Month held annually in October, visit the National Farm to School Network Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Background

The F2Summer movement is a growing trend supported by interest and enthusiasm for including local foods on the menu and teaching children where food comes from.

  • In 2018, the F2Summer Week Challenge was created by the USDA to encourage more CNP sponsors to participate in F2Summer activities. The NSD offered the first California F2Summer Week Challenge for summer meal program sponsors. The NSD found that many summer meal program sponsors needed assistance finding locally sourced foods and implementing agricultural-based education activities.

  • In 2019, the NSD hosted a California F2Summer Week Challenge webinar to help summer meal program sponsors find local food to put on the menu and referred them to organizations that had agricultural-based education activities ready to download at no charge, or that were willing to come to a site to provide agricultural-based education activities. Eleven summer meal sponsors completed that challenge!

  • In 2020, the NSD postponed the F2Summer Week Challenge due to the global Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

  • In 2021, the USDA retitled the F2Summer Week Challenge to the F2Summer Celebration Week and is supporting state agencies and program operators in implementing the celebration however it best fits the program operators schedule and environment, whether it be virtually, in-person, or a combination of both. The theme for California for summer of 2021 was Celebrate Local Foods!

  • In 2022, many summer program sites returned to in-person instruction and were able to incorporate hands-on activities that connected with the Get to Know Your Local Farm(s) theme! The majority of the participants reported connecting with the theme by: having farmers visit their schools, by providing a sensory challenge, by having students visit a local farm, by using local produce to make simple recipes for the students to enjoy, by encouraging culinary students to utilize their seasonal produce, and so much more.

How to Participate

To complete the F2Summer Celebration, program operators must 1) Complete the Pre-F2Summer Celebration Week Survey, 2) Conduct the three activities at least once during the designated F2Summer Celebration Week, and 3) Complete the Post-F2Summer Celebration Week Survey.

  1. Complete Pre-F2Summer Celebration Week Survey. For summer 2023, the pre-survey will be available May 2023.

  2. Conduct the following three activities at least once during the designated F2Summer Celebration Week:

    • Taste: Serve a locally-sourced food item that students can taste. The tasting can occur during a snack or meal, during a nutrition activity, or in the garden! The USDA does not define the term local, the definition is to be determined and defined at the school food authority level. The definition of the word local can also change based on the season or the type of product. Local could mean within a city, a county, or a specific region. These snacks or meals can come from the school garden or school farm, an individual farmer, a farmer’s market, through a distributor, from USDA foods or USDA Department of Defense (DoD) or DoD Fresh, or a food hub.

    • Teach: Provide an agricultural-based education activity. For curriculum ideas, visit the Resources tab on the CDE Farm to School web page or visit the CDE Resource Library web page.

    • Connect: Share your activities on social media, on your organization’s website, via a newsletter article, or email to your school community, or invite the press to attend an event! You could do one of these or all of them!

  3. Complete the Post-F2Summer Celebration Week Survey. For the summer of 2023, the post-survey will be available after June 2023.

All program operators that conduct the Celebration week, and complete the pre and post survey will have their organizations recognized in a listserv, name posted on the F2Summer Celebration Week Awardees tab, and receive a One in a Melon Award Certificate!

Past Successes

Benefits

In 2022, participants of the F2Summer Celebration Week had the opportunity to report the benefits they received from participating in the Celebration week. Participants could select more than one benefit.

  • 80 percent of participants reported that the Celebration week was in alignment with their meal service, school mission, and vision,
  • 56 percent noticed a greater acceptance of the meal
  • 48 percent witnessed greater community support for the summer meal programs
  • 36 percent saw an increase in participation
  • 36 percent witnessed increased kitchen staff satisfaction
  • 20 percent reported reduced food waste

Quotes

Participants of the celebration week also had an opportunity to share statements that summed up their student, staff and parent celebration experiences. Below are some of the inspiring quotes we received.

Student Quotes

  • "Tomatoes grow on plants?"
    • Student at Morongo Unified School District (USD)
  • "I never tried this, but I will eat them every chance I can".
    • Student at Hughson USD
  • “Thank you for making sure I have food.”
    • Student at Redlands USD
  • "I love watermelon, can I have more?"
    • Student at Hesperia USD
  • “Best summer ever, healthy food, healthy life.”
    • Student at Heber Elementary School District
  • "This is delicious (tasting a nectarine from a local farm for the first time)!”
    • Student at Yuba City USD
  • "I want to make these recipes at home!"
    • Student at San Luis Coastal USD
  • "This is the best thing I've ever tried at school (referring to our local red lentil dal)!"
    • Student at San Luis Coastal USD

Food Service Quotes

  • "Smiling children makes everything worth it.”
    • Miguel at Mountain View School District

  • “This is a great opportunity to promote the local foods we regularly serve on our menus!”
    • Fresno USD

  • “We LOVE celebrating Farm 2 Summer Week! The freshest, most delicious strawberries are grown just a few miles from our schools at Cal Poly's Strawberry Center! Students get to taste the sweetness of these local berries and experience the beauty of locally sourced items with our fabulous F2Summer program this year!”
    • San Luis Coastal USD

  • “It was great to see the excitement and energy from the students to learn about and eat watermelon; and for some it was their very first time trying it.”
    • Weaver Union School District

  • “F2 Summer Celebration Week provided Riverside Unified School District the ability to bring awareness of locally grown produce served through summer meals. It allowed youth to explore hands-on agriculture-based activities and encouraged increased intake of locally grown fruit through produce taste-testing activity.”
    • Adleit at Riverside USD

  • “Students can be so inquisitive when they have an opportunity to learn something new in a hands-on activity. F2Summer often allows us the opportunity to do nutrition education in a small group setting, where you can answer student questions and give students the opportunity to truly participate in the activity.”
    • Michelle at Elk Grove USD

  • “A great way to collaborate with our local farmers and create an ongoing flourishing relationship to better both school meals and local small agriculture.”
    • Kristin at Brentwood Union School District

Parent/Guardian Quotes

  • “I’ve never got my son to even look at apricots and now he has to have them.”
    • Parent/Guardian from Hughson USD
  • “We love that our kids are getting fresh fruit.”
    • Parent/Guardian from Redlands USD

Trainings

Online Trainings
Additional Online Training Databases

Online Trainings

Course Number Course Name Training Topic Target Audience
550

F2Summer Week Challenge External link opens in new window or tab. (Video; 20:31)

Please note: F2Summer Challenge is now known as F2Summer Celebration Week

Menu Planning or Nutrition Education
Child and Adult Care Food Program Directors, Food Service Directors and Staff, Teachers
External USDA
Menu Planning or Nutrition Education
Summer Meal Program Food Service Directors, Staff

Additional Online Training Databases

To find additional online trainings, visit the:

Partners

The following tables provide a list of organizations you can reach out to for assistance procuring locally sourced foods and providing on-site assistance with agricultural-based enrichment activities. If you need their assistance, it is advisable to contact them early!

Taste—Assistance with local procurement
Teach—On-site assistance providing agricultural-based education activities

Taste—Assistance with local procurement

Organization Contact Information Assistance Provided
California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) California Farmer Marketplace External link opens in new window or tab. Navigate the web page to find farms near you. Answers questions about availability of food items
CDFA Office of Farm to Fork–Farm to School (F2S) Program External link opens in new window or tab.

Contact: Michael Ackley-Grady

Email: Michael.Ackley-Grady@cdfa.ca.gov
Connecting with local food producers and navigating F2S resources
Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) External link opens in new window or tab.

Contact: Yousef Buzayan, Farm to Cafeteria Manager

Email: yousef@caff.org

Provides technical assistance (TA) with procuring local foods, and a free Bid Generator for Request for Proposals

The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Location External link opens in new window or tab. Navigate the web page to find the UCCE nearest you.

Provides help finding farms near you

Teach—On-site assistance providing agricultural-based education activities

Organization/Program Contact Information Assistance Provided
The UCCE–Master Gardener Program External link opens in new window or tab. Scroll down the web page and select the county on the California map to reach the UCCE Master Gardener Program nearest you. Garden-based education activities or Ask a Master Gardener a Question
University of California, Davis, CalFresh Healthy Living External link opens in new window or tab.

Contact: MaryAnn Mills, Program Team Manager

Email: mamills@ucdavis.edu

Nutrition education activities and taste tests of locally sourced foods
California Foundation for Agriculture (Ag) in the Classroom External link opens in new window or tab.

Contact: Judy Culbertson, Executive Director

Phone: 916-561-5625

Email: info@learnaboutag.org
TA regarding standard-aligned agricultural-based lessons and enrichment activities
Center for Ecoliteracy External link opens in new window or tab.

Phone: 510-845-4595

Email: info@ecoliteracy.org

TA by phone or email for agricultural-based education activities

 

Resources

Below are resources that participants can utilize to help promote, plan, implement, and enhance their Celebration week.

Procurements

Resources Description

USDA Procuring Local Foods for CNPs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

An increasing number of program operators are sourcing local foods and providing complementary educational activities that emphasize food, agriculture, and nutrition. While interest for buying local foods has grown, uncertainty about the rules for purchasing locally grown products persists. This resource covers many key topics to assist with this process, such as: Menu Planning, Procurement Principals and Regulations, Procurement Methods, Opportunities to Target Local Producer, Sections of a Solicitation, Geographic Preference, Buying Products from the School Garden, Supporting Local Foods in Tribal Schools, Beyond Lunch: Buying Local Foods for Summer, Using USDA Foods and DoD Fresh, Comparing Procurement Methods, and more.
CDFA Certified Farmers' Markets by County External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) Need assistance finding local foods for your meal programs, Celebration week, or both? The CDFA provides a Certified Farmers Market Locator by County External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) and Certified Producers by County External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) list in California to assist with locating these markets and producers!

Policy

Resources Description

USDA Local Foods and Related Activities in Summer Meal Programs External link opens in new window or tab.

The purpose of this memorandum and attached questions and answers is to provide guidance on the incorporation of local foods and nutrition and agriculture-based activities in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO), collectively referred to as summer meal programs.

Planning Guides and Toolkits

Resources Description
Center for Ecoliteracy F2Summer Planning Guide External link opens in new window or tab. This planning guide distills tips and best practices for building community support, conducting grassroots outreach, planning F2Summer menus, and more.
USDA Summer Meals Toolkit External link opens in new window or tab. Summer meal programs rely on innovation and collaboration to reach children who need good nutrition when school is out of session. This toolkit gives state administrators, program operators, and community partners creative ideas and resources to make summer meal planning easy, raise awareness, overcome barriers and serve nutritious food that is appealing to children.

General Resources

Resources Description
USDA F2Summer: Why Summer Meals Programs are Ripe for Local Foods and Agriculture-Based Activities Fact Sheet External link opens in new window or tab. This fact sheet discusses the benefits of F2Summer activities. Summer is a time of agricultural abundance: plump stone fruits hang heavy on trees, juicy melons and tomatoes explode from their vines, beans begin to dry in their pods, and livestock fed on the most nutritious spring grasses produce delicious meat and dairy products. This fact sheet will review how to integrate local food into summer meals.
National Farm to Fork Network External link opens in new window or tab. This web page provides resources to assist program operators implement Farm to School (F2S) and F2Summer activities. Examples of resources are: Preschool Lesson Plans by Growing Minds, What’s in Season, Pint Size Produce, Easy to Use Activities for Early Childhood, Fresh from the Farm: F2S and Out-of-School Time Programs and much more!

Additional Resources

  • To find additional resources, visit the CDE Resource Library web page to assist program operators with Nutrition Education activities, Agricultural-based Nutrition Education, Recipes, Cooking in the Classroom, and Physical Activity. Examples of resources are: Food Safety from Farm to Fork, Healthalicious Cooking, Nourish: Food and Community, Growing Healthy Kids and so much more!

Best Practices

Below is a list of best practice to assist with planning, enjoying, and then wrapping up F2Summer Celebration Week.

Prior to F2Summer Celebration Week

  • Watch the F2Summer Online Training
  • Obtain school administration and staff support
  • Utilize the CDE partners or school district partners for assistance
  • Complete the F2Summer Pre-survey. For the summer of 2023, the Pre-survey will be available May 2023.
  • Involve students and teachers in choosing activities
  • Connect your activities with the F2Summer theme
  • Contact your local farms, farmers, food hubs and distributors ahead of time for availability  
  • Visit the CDE Resources Library for agricultural-based and nutrition education curriculum
  • Consider incorporating nutrition education into core subjects
  • Utilize local produce from USDA Foods
  • Utilize local and/or organic produce from DoD Fresh (SSO program Operators)
  • Notify Parents/guardians of Celebration participation by:
    • Email or E-Newsletter
    • District or school website
    • Robo calls
    • Word of mouth
    • Text
  • Leverage help and assistance from parent volunteers, garden staff, F2S Coordinators, nutritionists, students interns and students
  • Post your commitment to participate on your preferred social media platform

During F2Summer Celebration Week

  • Teach agricultural-based and nutrition education lesson(s)
  • Keep track of how many sites and students are participating
  • Taste local foods and produce
  • Share your successes with other school districts
  • Utilize all school spaces: Classrooms, multipurpose rooms, cafeteria, garden, grassy areas, or farm areas
  • Take plenty of photos and videos (Don’t forget student photo releases!)
  • Write down the memorable quotes from students, staff, and parents
  • Place recipes and flyers in backpacks
  • Enjoy your week!

After F2Summer Celebration Week

  • Complete F2Summer Post-survey. For the summer of 2023, the Post-survey will be available after June 2023.
  • Notify Parents/guardians and the public of your successes by:
    • Email or E-Newsletter
    • District website
    • Text
    • Social Media Platform

Awardees

2022

The CDE NSD would like to congratulate the following California program operators for receiving a One in a “Honeydew” Melon Certificate of Recognition for completing the three elements of the F2Summer Celebration Week in 2022:

  • California Sunrise Foundation
  • Elk Grove Unified School District (USD)
  • Fresno USD
  • Glendale USD
  • Heber Elementary School District (SD)
  • Hesperia USD
  • Hughson USD
  • Lodi USD
  • Manteca USD
  • Morongo USD
  • Natomas USD
  • Ontario-Montclair SD
  • Palm Springs USD
  • Redlands USD
  • Rialto USD Child Nutrition
  • Riverside USD
  • Rowland USD
  • San Bernardino City USD
  • San Luis Coastal USD
  • San Miguel Joint Union SD
  • Santa Cruz City SD
  • Standard SD
  • Vista USD
  • Yuba City USD

2021

The CDE NSD congratulated the following California program operators for receiving a One in a Melon Certificate of Recognition for completing the three elements of the F2Summer Celebration Week in 2021:

  • Antioch USD
  • Baker USD
  • Barstow USD
  • Brentwood Union School District
  • Elk Grove USD
  • Fresno USD
  • Morongo USD
  • Mountain View School District
  • Ontario-Montclair School District
  • Redlands USD
  • Rialto USD
  • Riverside USD
  • San Diego Unified Food Services
  • San Luis Coastal USD
  • Santa Cruz City Schools
  • Vista USD
  • Weaver Union School District
  • Winters Joint USD
  • Yuba City USD

2020

The CDE NSD did not offer the F2Summer Week Challenge due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

2019

The CDE NSD congratulated the following California program operators for receiving a One in a Melon Trophy of recognition for completing the three elements of the F2Summer Week Challenge in 2019:

  • A Place Called Home
  • Eastside Union School District
  • Elk Grove USD
  • Natomas USD
  • Ontario-Montclair School District
  • Redlands USD
  • Rialto USD
  • Riverside USD
  • San Luis Coastal USD
  • South Bay Union School District
  • Winters Joint USD

The CDE also congratulated the following program operators for receiving a Certificate of Appreciation for participating in the F2Summer Week Challenge:

  • Adelanto Elementary School District
  • Camp Laurel Foundation
  • Hesperia USD
  • Santa Clara USD
  • San Diego USD
  • Hilmar USD
  • Sacramento City USD

Contacts

California Department of Education F2S Contacts

Farm to School

For questions about F2Summer Celebration Week, contact the F2S Team by email at Farm2School@cde.ca.gov.

Procurement

For questions related to procurement and procurement resources, email NSDProcurementReview@cde.ca.gov.

California Department of Food and Agriculture Team Contacts

For assistance locating farms to procure local foods, contact the Farm to School Network Team at the California Department of Food and Agriculture by email at cafarmtoschool@cdfa.ca.gov.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, December 14, 2022
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