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Take the Farm Fresh Challenge this October 2018: Challenge Currently Closed

During the month of October 2018, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is hosting the annual Farm Fresh Challenge (formerly known as the Local Products Challenge). Open to all TDA contracting entities (CE) in the National School Lunch Program, the Challenge is a fun and engaging way for school nutrition professionals and their schools to gain recognition for their efforts to bring local foods and garden-based learning activities to their students.

Participating in the Farm Fresh Challenge is easier than you may think, as some of the food options you’re already serving in the cafeteria - like milk and meat products - are likely locally sourced from Texas producers, which means you’ve already completed some of the Challenge requirements before you ever pledge.

Challenge participation soared in 2017 with more than 175 school districts participating statewide, serving nearly 2 million students! Are you ready to join the fun, and earn recognition for your district?

                                                               




Participating in the Challenge is Easy

Follow these simple steps to participate in the Farm Fresh Challenge and receive TDA recognition!

Step 1: Take the Challenge participation pledge.

Important note: The Challenge participation pledge should be completed by the CE, not an individual school campus.


Step 2:
Plan your menu and educational activities.


Step 3: Complete one of the three tiers below.


Step 4: Submit your participation attestation form
 by Thursday, November 15, 2018.


Step 5 (optional): Send a success story about your participation and photos
(if available) to FarmFresh@TexasAgriculture.gov




Choose Your Participation Tier: Eat Local. Teach Local. Be Social.
New this year, we’ve added a multiple tier recognition system so you can choose the participation level that best fits your needs! 



First Tier
Best of the Bunch


Second Tier
Sharp Cheddar

 

Third Tier 
Prime Participant

 

Eat Local
. 
What to Serve:  3 or more Texas foods representing 3 unique meal components

How Often:  A minimum of once a week each full week in October 
 

Eat Local
. 
What to Serve:  1 or more Texas foods 


How Often:
  A minimum of once a week for every full week in October  
.
 

Eat Local
. 
What to Serve:  3 or more Texas foods representing 3 different meal components

How Often:  Throughout the challenge period

Teach Local. Host at least one educational opportunity during the month of October.
 

Be Social.
Share at least one social media post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #FarmFreshTexas or #FarmFreshChallenge.
 





Resources to Help You Complete the Challenge

Below are a few resources that you can leverage to make completing the Farm Fresh Challenge a breeze for your school.

Sourcing Local Products

Find local Texas farmers, ranchers and distributors using our Farm Fresh Network tool.

Questions about how to buy local? Visit the Local Procurement page for additional resources.


Recipes for Menu Items

Make your menu fresh with our Cooking for the Seasons: Summer cookbook.


Farm Fresh Activities Ideas

Engage your students in garden-based learning with these activity ideas.

For students in grades K-5

For students in grades 6-12


Social Guidance
 

Complete your Be Social. challenge task with the help of our social guidance tool.

Click the icon below for the Social Media Support Toolkit


Even more resources to support your participation in the Farm Fresh Challenge can be found on our RESOURCE PAGE.



Other Helpful Resources

Defining Local Decision Tool

The USDA authorizes entities participating in the NSLP to define local in a manner that best suits their needs and the needs of the population they serve. This tool will walk you through two questions to help you identify your entity’s definition of local.

Local Procurement Decision Tree

This USDA resource will help you identify they appropriate procurement method to use when buying local.


Success Stories

CRUNCH ACROSS COVE! A fun way to celebrate the Farm Fresh Challenge!

Copperas Cove ISD regularly celebrates local products with Farm Fresh activities, highlighting a different local produce item each month. Copperas Cove ISD students from six elementary schools recently participated in CRUNCH ACROSS COVE to celebrate the Farm Fresh Challenge! This fun event gave students the memorable experience of crunching on delicious Farm Fresh apples, all at the same time. Students learned about Texas apples, how they grow, and why they are a healthy, nutritious snack.

The CRUNCH ACROSS COVE event is a great example of a low-cost educational opportunity that brings together the entire school community and meets the educational component: Teach Local of the Farm Fresh Challenge.

Students exposed to local food through fun, educational activities, tend to be more willing to try these foods when they are offered during school meals. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Farm Fresh Challenge educational component encourages school districts to implement nutrition education activities such as this one, in support of connecting students to Texas agriculture.



2018 Farm Fresh Challenge Participants
Browse records in that    Search     
Contracting Entity (CE) NameESC RegionChallenge Tier
Grapevine-Colleyville ISD11Second Tier
Coldspring-Oakhurst CONS6First Tier
Kilgore ISD7Third Tier
Aledo ISD11Third Tier
Del Valle ISD13Third Tier
Gatesville ISD12Third Tier
Harlingen CONS ISD1Third Tier
Hutto ISD13First Tier
Judson ISD20First Tier
Waco ISD12Third Tier
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For more information about Farm Fresh Fridays or the Farm Fresh Challenge, please contact TDA at FarmFresh@TexasAgriculture.gov








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