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Mobile Workshops, and Farm & Food Service Trainings

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Staff from Wenatchee School District visit Cloudview Ecofarms

Farm and School Food Service Trainings

We are developing and providing farm trainings on institutional markets, including product needs, how to approach schools, and food safety and insurance requirements. School food service trainings include information on direct purchasing, food safety, preparing fresh produce, and seasonal menu planning. We are constantly seeking feedback regarding what trainings would be most helpful to farms and schools.

WSDA conducts workshops on the full range of farm to institution topics.  The following are recent popular regional workshop series:

Farm Tour and Kitchen Skills Workshops, occurring in different regions of the state over time.  Mobile workshops provide an opportunity for farms and schools to see each other in action and learn about the realities of operations on farms and in school kitchens. Travel time allows for interaction among participants and encourages potential cooperation to develop supply chain solutions specific to their region.  See descriptions of past Farm Tour and Kitchen Skills Workshops below.

How to Buy and Serve Washington Grown Foods Workshops for school nutrition directors and food purchasing officers. WSDA is offering workshops at 4-6 locations around the state, designed to discuss recent Geographic Preference Option available to schools to increase purchases of Washington-grown food, and to discuss purchasing, food safety and other critical issues in farm to school implementation.  Two recent resources are distributed at the workshops:

These purchasing workshops were held in Skagit County, Pierce County, Chelan County, and Cowlitz County in 2013 and Tri-Cities, Spokane, and Ellensburg in 2014. These workshops are made possible through a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant.

A series of workshops focused on local procurement and the Unprocessed Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program were held in spring 2016, in Tacoma, Stevens County, Clallam County, Spokane, Columbia County, Yakima, Klickitat County, Whatcom County, Skagit County, Cowlitz County, and King County. These trainings were made possible through funding and in partnership with OSPI.

Please contact us at FarmtoSchool@agr.wa.gov if you are interested in working with us to organize a workshop!

Past Farm to School Tours

Stevens County, May 2014
WSDA worked closely with local partners to host an event in Northeast Washington, an area with some remote school districts that have previously faced challenges to getting fresh produce distribution.  School districts and farms were invited from Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties.  WSDA partnered with WSU Stevens County Extension and the Community Agriculture Development Center to identify and recruit farm participants, Colville School District to host workshops, Lovitt Restaurant and Northport School District to consult about seasonal availability and recipes appropriate for school meals.  Farms hosting our tour included Front Porch Farm, who grow a variety of vegetables as well as grass-fed beef; and Riverview Orchard who grow peaches, nectarines, apples, cherries, and have a coffee roasting business!  Riverview also hosted our model farm to school lunch, catered by Lovitt Restaurant.  Lunch included baked potatoes stuffed with grass-fed beef chili and Tillamook cheese, roasted and ginger-pickled asparagus, and blueberry cups with toasted coconut and lemon-honey.  In the afternoon, WSDA and Debra Hansen of WSU led discussions about local infrastructure, needs and opportunities for farmers.  Rene Sellgren of Spokane Public Schools led a scratch cooking training for School Food Service professionals, where we used local kale, onions, potatoes, dried apples, and rhubarb to make kale chips, Chinese flavored kale, broccoli apple salad, applesauce, roasted potatoes three ways, rhubarb crunch and rhubarb cake.

Whatcom County, October 2013
School Food Service Directors from Whatcom County joined farmers from Whatcom and Skagit counties to learn about the intricacies of raising dairy cattle from Bill Wavrin of Wavrin Dairy, and tour two farms. Hopewell Farm where a variety of mixed vegetables and blueberries are grown, and Cloud Mountain Farm Center, home to an innovative farmer training program and future vegetable processing facility.  Cloud Mountain owners Cheryl and Tom Thornton graciously opened their home to host our model farm to school lunch of sloppy joes (and a mushroom vegetarian version!), seasonal salad and apple slices.  Nooksack School District hosted afternoon sessions at Nooksack Elementary, where Georgia Johnson (LaConner School District) taught a kitchen skills workshop, and farmers came together to discuss farm to school opportunities.  At the end we all came together to taste Georgia’s recipes: honey-ginger carrots, Mediterranean roast squash, minty coleslaw and a tropical kale smoothie.

Walla Walla, June 2013
Food services staff from school districts in SE Washington came together on a rare rainy day in Walla Walla to visit Blue Mountain Seed to learn about chickpea production and processing, tour Welcome Table Farm to see vegetable production and visit the farm animals.  Walla Walla Public Schools hosted lunch and afternoon sessions at Sharpstein Elementary.  Kent Getzin (Wenatchee School District) and Pamela Milleson (Walla Walla Public Schools) taught the kitchen skills workshop and farmers came together to discuss farm to school opportunities.

Snohomish/Skagit Counties, October 2011
School food service directors and staff, and area farmers met at Presidents Elementary in Arlington School District, and took a bus out to visit Garden Treasures and Ralph's Greenhouse farms.  Over lunch at Skagit Food Coop, the group heard about NW Agriculture Business Center's Puget Sound Food Network, Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network's Fresh Food in Schools project and Ecotrust's FoodHub. The afternoon kitchen skills workshop was led by Kent Getzin of Wenatchee School District.

Olympic Peninsula, October 2011
Foodservice attendees participated in a breakfast yogurt parfait demo with Port Angeles School District and then headed out to visit Graysmarsh Farm and Nash's Organic Produce. After a sample farm to school lunch at the local Grange Hall, participants returned to Port Angeles for afternoon workshops.

Spokane area, June 2011
This tour brought together fruit and vegetable growers, grain and lentil producers, representatives from the Department of Corrections, and school nutrition staff to visit Rocky Ridge Ranch and a Shepherd's Grain field, sample a locally sourced Taste Washington Day meal, and have some cooking time at Reardan School District too.

Royal City, May 2011
A group of farmers and school food service staff throughout central Washington visited Tonnemaker Farm, Cloudview EcoFarms, and got a hands-on cooking lesson in the kitchen of Wahluke School District led by the Nutrition Director and staff of Wenatchee School District.

White Salmon, June 2010
School food service staff visited Columbia High School, where they got to check out the school garden and cafeteria, have an information session with the Gorge Grown Food Network, and tour Dickey Farms.

Yakima Valley, June 2010
Food service directors throughout the Yakima Valley toured Magana Farm in Sunnyside,  Alvarez Farm in Mabton and Moreno Farm in Grandview.  Magana Farm hosted a fabulous lunch.

Tacoma, February 2010
Farmers and school food service staff got to see one another's operations and sample a school meal. They visited Kirsop Farm, Left Foot Organics, Lincoln Elementary School, and Rochester High School.

Good Agricultural Practices and On-Farm Food Safety Workshops - Many schools are seeking produce with food safety assurances, whether by checklist or required certifications.  WSDA offers on-farm workshops with GAP auditors, to help fruit and vegetable growers prepare to meet that demand.  "Bridging the GAPs" workshops were held in the following locations:

Imperial's Garden, Yakima
Alvarez Farms (w/ Spanish language interpreters), Yakima
Williams Hudson Bay Farm, Walla Walla
Viva Farms (w/ Spanish language interpreters), Mt. Vernon
Local Roots Farm, Duvall
Pheasant Fields Farm, Silverdale
Skagit Flats Farm, Mt. Vernon
Cedarville Farms, Bellingham
WSU Research Farm, Puyallup

Classroom Workshops and Meetings:
Spokane, WA
Moses Lake, WA
Puget Sound Food Hub meetings, LaConner
Tilth Producers of Washington Conference

If you are interested in your school or farm being a host site for an event, please contact: FarmtoSchool@agr.wa.gov or call 206-256-1874.

Last Updated: 10/12/2016