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March 2010

USDA visit to the Davis Farm to School Program: Rayne Pegg, administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, visited the Davis Joint Unified School District on March 8 to observe first-hand one of the nation's most-promising public school-lunch models. District officials were honored to host the visit and showcase Davis' pairing of commodity foods with local produce as well as community partnerships with Davis Farm to School, Sutter Davis Hospital and the Davis Farmers' Market.

Pegg toured the Student Nutrition Services (SNS) central kitchen as well as Korematsu Elementary and Davis High School to see the school-lunch and recycling-programs in action and to sample the food being served to students. She also met with Superintendent James Hammond, former California Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin -- who championed "A Garden in Every School" -- Jim Mills of Produce Express, Janet Wagner, Chief Administrative Officer at Sutter Davis Hospital and representatives from various partner organizations. They completed their tour of Davis with a visit to the Emerson Junior High school garden, one of the many school gardens used to teach a variety of academic subjects and to increase food and agricultural literacy.

"It was wonderful to get a hands-on education of the Farm-to-School Program at Davis Joint Unified School District," Pegg said after the visit. "The seasonal self-serve salad bar at Korematsu Elementary School and the garden for teaching environmental education at the Emerson Junior High are both practical models that school districts can readily duplicate throughout the country. The partnerships with the public-private sector such as Sutter Davis Hospital and Davis Food Co-op and non-profits such as Davis Farmers Market, along with ASI at UC Davis, were equally impressive," Pegg says. "The information we gained during our visit was invaluable to the USDA in our efforts to assist others in developing and expanding a farm to school program."

Davis Farm to School Connection Newsletter: The first edition of the Davis Farm to School Connection e-newsletter, "on the table", went out March 9th to over 400 people! To join our e-mailing list, please email us.

Student Nutrition Services Participated in A Taste of Davis: On March 12th, local restaurants, caterers and wineries from across the spectrum offered a bite or sip of their signature food or wine to guests at the annual Chamber of Commerce fundraiser, A Taste of Davis. The DJUSD Student Nutrition Services served their 7 Vegetable Moroccan Tajin to over 300 guests enjoying live music and a silent auction. Participating in community events such as this promote the Student Nutrition Services as not only a provider of local, seasonal and delicious school lunch in Davis, but also as a viable catering option for non school related events.

Student Nutrition Services Spring Cooking Class: Davis Farm to School has provided a cooking school with five lessons annually for the past two years to the DJUSD Student Nutrition Services staff to help teach them about the preparation of fresh, seasonal produce, and to help cooks develop flavor profiles for basic dishes that students love. This spring’s class on March 24th was titled "Spring Vegetables and Commodities: Latin American and the Southwest".

Slow Food Yolo Film Series: On March 26th the Slow Food Yolo Film Series benefiting Davis Farm to School Connection continued with a special screening of Nourishing the Kids of Katrina: The Edible Schoolyard at the Davis Senior High performing Arts Building. The compelling 31 minute documentary follows the story of how renowned chef Alice Waters’ Berkeley "Edible Schoolyard" program is replicated and contributes to the rebirth of the New Orleans uptown under-served Green Charter School after its devastation from Hurricane Katrina floodwaters. Slow Food Yolo was honored to welcome award-winning producer and filmmaker Robert Lee Grant who was on-hand to answer questions. Following the film guests enjoyed light refreshments including crudite platters from Capay Organics.

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